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Air New Zealand to drop Hong Kong-London flights

Air New Zealand AB 777Air New Zealand is dropping Hong Kong-London flights from March 4, 2013, instead deciding to focus on UK flights via Los Angeles as the airline focuses on returning to profitability.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob Fyfe, said a comprehensive review of the Hong Kong-London service has confirmed the route would not become profitable in the foreseeable future and as a result the flights would be cut.

Fyfe said the decision to exit from Hong Kong-London will enable more capacity to be redeployed onto the popular North American destinations of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Last month Air New Zealand announced a further 5,000 return seats to its North American routes through to the end of June 2013 and he said releasing capacity from Hong Kong-London enables the continuation of this additional capacity.

“We’re excited about our upcoming move to the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX where Air New Zealand has been contracted to design and operate a brand new and much improved Star Alliance lounge, making Los Angeles a great place to connect through to London or destinations further into Europe,” he said.

“We remain committed to servicing Europe via these daily Los Angeles-London services.”

In a separate move which is part of Air New Zealand’s strategy to implement an alliance based network with a Pacific Rim focus, the airline has also formed a strategic agreement with Cathay Pacific on the Auckland – Hong Kong route.

“At the same time, we wanted to strengthen our presence in Hong Kong which is an important market and vital gateway into Mainland China for Air New Zealand,” Fyfe said.

“In line with this we have received approval from the New Zealand Ministry of Transport to form a strategic agreement with Cathay Pacific effective from 12 December 2012.

“The agreement will see both carriers continue to operate the same frequency between Auckland and Hong Kong while introducing code share on each other’s flights as well as opening up excellent connections between New Zealand and Mainland China,” he said.

Air New Zealand operates daily year round services between Auckland and Hong Kong while Cathay Pacific operates daily year round services and up to double daily in the peak period between 2 December and 1 March.

The new strategic agreement comes into effect from January 31, 2013, while sales commence on December 12, 2012.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar said consumers would benefit from the agreement with Air New Zealand.

“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Air New Zealand which will help us explore further the great potential of this market,” he said. “This new agreement will open up a vast range of potential opportunities for the two airlines to maximize synergies and better meet customers’ needs.”

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