Air New Zealand announces route restructure, to suspend Singapore service


Sydney (XFNews-ASIA) - Air New Zealand Ltd announced significant changes to its international network including the suspension of flights to Singapore from Oct 2.

The country's national carrier said it will also introduce the Boeing 777-200ER type-plane on flights to London via Los Angeles, and will not recommence twice weekly summer season flights from Christchurch to Los Angeles.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe said the route changes are the beginning of a repositioning process to continue profitably growing Air New Zealand.

He said despite the changes, the airline will continue to increase its total long haul seat capacity by nine pct in the year to June 2007 and by six pct for the Air New Zealand group.

Fyfe said the Singapore route suspension will give Air New Zealand more aircraft and resources to pursue new international routes which, he said, the airline is in advanced planning for.

Air New Zealand currently flies daily from Auckland to Singapore using its Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, but currently has less than a 30 pct capacity share on this route.

Air New Zealand's International general manager Ed Sims said the airline has sustained significant losses flying to Singapore in recent years.

He added the vast majority of passengers travelling from Auckland to Singapore are connecting with another service, primarily to the northern hemisphere.

"Most of these destinations are served just as effectively via Hong Kong."

Sims said the airline is continuing discussions with Star Alliance network partners to enable an Air New Zealand code share on their flights to Singapore going forward.

Fyfe said north Asian routes represent substantially greater growth prospects for Air New Zealand than South East Asia which is already well served with international airline capacity.

"In addition the cargo market drives Air New Zealand's preference for building North Asia capacity," he said.

The chief executive reiterated his airline's debut of non-stop 777 services to Shanghai three times a week beginning November 6, with initial bookings strong.

He said the airline is also preparing for a second daily service to London via Hong Kong in October which shows strong customer demand.

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