Tag Archives: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand ramps up cargo operations

Air New Zealand has made this announcement:

Air New Zealand Cargo is offering importers and exporters a range of charter options to keep cargo moving to and from New Zealand during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Air New Zealand General Manager Cargo Rick Nelson says the airline has introduced a number of innovative measures to keep Kiwi businesses connected to the world.

“We’re offering our cargo customers a range of aircraft charter services covering every port on the Air New Zealand network (excluding London). We have also been able to provide customised options from North American markets through to Australia.

“With our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft for example, we have the ability to uplift 11 cargo pallets in each direction we fly. Each of these pallets can take up to 12 cubic metres in volume and up to 4600 kilograms in weight.

“We’ve shared these options with our global cargo customer base and are getting some strong interest from customers wanting to ship to and from Shanghai, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sydney and Melbourne.

“We’ve also introduced the concept of a ‘Multi Party Charter Agreement’ which has been designed to help small and medium sized exporters and importers to ensure they have options available to them to move their goods in these challenging times. Under this model, our customers can purchase a single airfreight pallet position on a charter flight, or by working together with a freight forwarder, a coalition of exporters and importers can potentially combine and consolidate their shipments so that they are able to purchase a single unit on the aircraft.

“This is undoubtedly an extremely difficult time for our airline with a significant reduction in capacity due to reduced travel demand, but we are pleased to be able to keep New Zealand connected to the world in this way.”

At the same time, Air New Zealand is working with the Government to ensure critical cargo transport lines are maintained.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand updates its international network

Air New Zealand has made this announcement:

Air New Zealand is adjusting its international network to match demand and government travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline will operate a limited international network from March 30 to May 31, 2020 to enable essential travel and to keep air freight moving through key cargo corridors to North America and Asia. Overall, international capacity will reduce by 95 percent from pre-COVID-19 levels.

Domestic services into Auckland will be scheduled to allow travellers to connect onto Tasman and Pacific routes.

The airline’s international schedule from March 30 to May 31 will be as follows. All services are subject to change as governments continue to introduce or change travel and border restrictions.

Tasman services (per week)

 

Auckland-Sydney Three return services
Auckland-Brisbane Two return services
Auckland-Melbourne Two return services

 

Pacific services (per week)

 

Auckland-Rarotonga One return service
Auckland-Fiji One return service
Auckland-Niue One return service
Sydney-Norfolk One return service
Brisbane-Norfolk One return service

 Samoa and Tonga are currently not permitting international flights. If these restrictions end, Air New Zealand is likely to operate one return service per week from Auckland.

Long-haul services (per week)

Auckland-Los Angeles Three return services
Auckland-Hong Kong Two return services
Auckland-Shanghai Return services on alternate days from 2 May

The airline is retiming its Hong Kong service to a night operation ex Auckland and Hong Kong to maximise connection opportunities for cargo.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand enters debt funding agreement

Air New Zealand has made this announcement:

Air New Zealand has entered into a debt funding agreement with the New Zealand Government. Under the terms of the agreement the Government will provide a standby loan facility (‘the facility”) of up $900 million to support the airline as it manages the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on its business.

The facility will provide Air New Zealand with the ability to draw down on funds should its cash reserves drop below a minimum threshold, providing additional funds if cash reserves are not at a satisfactory level. The facility was negotiated on an arms’ length basis, with each party having been independently advised. The facility will be provided in two tranches – a tranche of $600,000,000 with an effective interest rate initially expected to be between 7% and 8% per annum and a second tranche of $300,000,000 with an effective interest rate initially expected to be in the order of 9% per annum. The facility will be available for a period of 24 months. The effective interest rates on both tranches will step-up by 1% if the facility remains after 12 months. This debt funding will be used to support the airline’s business operations as it manages the implications of various government border restrictions and substantial reductions in travel demand.

The availability of each tranche of the facility is subject to certain conditions precedent, including agreeing an operating finance plan with the Government and other documentary conditions precedent. Another condition precedent which Air New Zealand must satisfy in order to have the facility available is the cancellation of the 2020 interim dividend of 11 cents per share (which equates to a total of $123 million) that was announced to the market on 27 February 2020 and was due to be paid to all shareholders, including the Government, on 25 March 2020. Air New Zealand’s Board of Directors believes that, given the highly uncertain environment that exists, the cancellation of this dividend is in the best interests of the airline, including because that action is a pre-requisite to the availability of the facility. Accordingly, the Air New Zealand Board has cancelled this interim dividend effective today.

Other terms of the agreement (which is in the form of a binding terms sheet to be converted into long form agreements), include: a prohibition on payment by Air New Zealand of any dividends or other distributions to shareholders (including the Government) while any amount is available to be drawn under the facility, the giving of security for the loan by Air New Zealand and certain of its subsidiaries over their assets (subject to certain exceptions), the Government having the ability to seek repayment through a capital raise by the airline after six months, or converting the loan to equity (subject to compliance with laws and any necessary regulatory and/or shareholder approvals), Air New Zealand giving various undertakings, representations and operational and informational and other undertakings, and typical events of default. NZX Regulation has granted Air New Zealand waivers from the requirements under the NZX Listing Rules to obtain shareholder approval for entry into and performance of the facility with the Government (as a related party of Air New Zealand). Those waivers were granted because of the recent, extraordinary decline in Air New Zealand’s market capitalisation, and on the grounds that Air New Zealand’s Board of Directors have confirmed that: entry into the facility is in the best interests of all Air New Zealand shareholders (other than the Government); there has been an arms’ length negotiation in relation to the facility, and that the Government has not influenced Air New Zealand’s decision to enter into the facility.

Both Air New Zealand and the Government acknowledge that the terms of the facility do not alter the fundamental principles of their relationship, with the airlines Board of Directors, Greg Foran as CEO and the Executive Team maintaining responsibility for all commercial and operational decisions of the airline.

Separately, and distinct from this agreement, the Government is working with Air New Zealand to ensure other key services can be provided, including repatriation flights, maintaining critical cargo transport lines and having Air New Zealand staff assist the health response. Those services will be provided for under separate commercial arrangements to be negotiated in the future on an arms’ length basis between the airline and the Government.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand to close its London cabin crew base

Air New Zealand has made the decision to bring forward the closure of its London cabin crew base of 130 flight attendants due to the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world.  

 London-based cabin crew will operate their final service on the route on March 20 (ex Los Angeles). A New Zealand-based crew will operate the remaining flight on March 21. The route will then be suspended until June 30.  

 Air New Zealand had planned to close the cabin crew base with its withdrawal from the route in October 2020.  

Air New Zealand General Manager Cabin Crew Leeanne Langridge says these are unprecedented times for the airline and the past few weeks have presented an unsettling period for many staff.  

“The increasing travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are having a significant impact on bookings and flight cancellations. While this is a tough decision, it’s important we take action now to responsibly manage Air New Zealand through this difficult period to maintain a national airline that is fit for the future. 

“Our London-based cabin crew have always gone above and beyond. They consistently provide exemplary service to our customers and we remain incredibly proud of the base. Our priority now is supporting our people and we’ll be working closely with them and their union.” 

Earlier in the week, Air New Zealand announced it is reviewing its cost base in response to COVID-19 and is working with unions on a range of measures to reduce its labor bill by 30 percent. 

The airline placed itself into a trading halt on Monday to allow it time to fully assess the operational and financial impacts of global travel restrictions. The trading halt remains in place. 

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand announces significant capacity reductions

 

Air New Zealand is further reducing capacity across its network as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on travel demand.

On its long haul network Air New Zealand will be reducing its capacity by 85 percent over the coming months and will operate a minimal schedule to allow Kiwis to return home and to keep trade corridors with Asia and North America open. Full details of this schedule will be advised in the coming days.

Among the long haul network capacity reductions, the airline can advise it is suspending flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from March 30 to June 30. It is also suspending its London–Los Angeles service from March 20 (ex LAX) and March 21 (ex LHR) through to  June 30.

The Tasman and Pacific Island network capacity will significantly reduce between April and June. Details of these schedule changes will be announced later this week.

On the domestic network, capacity will be reduced by around 30 percent in April and May but no routes will be suspended.

Customers are advised that due to the unprecedented level of schedule changes they should not contact the airline unless they are due to fly within the next 48 hours or need immediate repatriation to New Zealand or their home country.

Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says that while airlines face an unprecedented challenge, Air New Zealand is better placed than most to navigate its way through it.

As a result of the downturn in travel Air New Zealand continues to review its cost base and will need to start the process of redundancies for permanent positions acknowledging the important role partnering with unions has in this process.

“We are now accepting that for the coming months at least Air New Zealand will be a smaller airline requiring fewer resources, including people. We have deployed a range of measures, such as leave without pay and asking those with excess leave to take it, but these only go so far. We are working on redeployment opportunities for some of our staff within the airline and also to support other organisations”.

Mr Foran says the airline is working constructively with the heads of the four main unions representing more than 8,000 of its workforce to ensure the right outcome for all staff.

As part of Air New Zealand’s cost savings initiatives the Board of Directors will take a 15 percent pay cut until the end of this calendar year.

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery:

Air New Zealand confirms coronavirus passenger was on board its three flights

Air New Zealand made this announcement:

The passenger travelled from Singapore to Auckland on flight NZ283 on February 25, 2020, then flew from Auckland to Palmerston North on flight NZ5103 on March 2, 2020, returning to Auckland on NZ8114 the same day.

The airline is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Government agencies to identify and proactively contact customers who travelled on the Singapore service and the two regional flights.

Air New Zealand Chief Medical Officer Doctor Ben Johnston says Air New Zealand has anticipated and planned for this scenario, and has a robust process in play to manage its response.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Health to identify and proactively contact customers from these flights. This includes utilising our own Contact Centre staff. The health and safety of passengers and crew is Air New Zealand’s top priority and our aircraft already undergo a thorough cleaning process, which includes cleaning surfaces such as tray tables and inflight entertainment screens with a disinfectant that kills viruses,” Dr Johnston says.

“We also remove all headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, and blankets after every international flight. Domestic and regional services surfaces and bathrooms are wiped with disinfectant spray. The three aircraft this customer flew on will now also undergo a deep clean.”

Air New Zealand aircraft photo gallery: