Air New Zealand has this morning announced a series of initiatives to improve its financial performance and customer experience after announcing a review of its operations earlier this year.
The airline announced that it will begin 3x weekly non stop services between Auckland and Seoul from November 2019, with up to 5x weekly over the busy Christmas holiday period. The route will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, with Air New Zealand taking delivery of it's final Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft in October 2019.
After trialing free in-flight WiFi for the last few months as a summer promotion, the decision has been made to offer free in-flight WiFi permanently across all WiFi equipped aircraft in the fleet. You can see if your aircraft or flight will have WiFi in this article here. The roll out of WiFi across the remainder of the Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet is still ongoing.
Services between Auckland and Taipei and Auckland and Chicago will both see increased frequency from November 2019. The Chicago route is currently flown 3x weekly, and Taipei 5x weekly. Both routes will continue to be flown by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
Services between Auckland and Hong Kong will see schedule changes from October 2019. The current schedule sees an aircraft parked up on the ground for around 10 hours between the inbound and outbound flights. By changing the times to avoid the aircraft being parked up for so long, it will free up an aircraft from this route.
The airline has also announced the deferral of some aircraft deliveries due in the coming years -
- Three of the seven Airbus A321neo aircraft that were due to arrive between 2020 and 2024 to replace existing A320ceo aircraft on domestic services have been deferred by a year.
- One of the A320neo aircraft to replace an existing A320ceo aircraft on short haul Trans Tasman and Pacific Island routes has been deferred for a year.
- The replacement of at least two of the seven Boeing 777-200ER aircraft that had been scheduled to replaced from 2022 onwards have been deferred by at least four years.
Ongoing upgrades of Koru lounges will continue, with a further nine lounges across the network being upgraded over the next two years costing $50 million. Wellington is the first of these with the current domestic lounge closing earlier this week for an upgrade. The new lounge is expected to open in early December 2019.
New Business Premier seats will be fitted to the Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner seats beginning later this year, with the upgrade expected to be complete by the end of 2020. These new seats will replace the current Virgin Atlantic licenced Herringbone seats used in these aircraft.
Chairman Tony Carter says the Board fully supports the recommendations of the review and the management team’s ability to deliver stronger results for the airline’s staff, customers and shareholders. “Both management and the Board have proven their ability to re-position the airline for success across different external environments, and this time is no different,” says Mr Carter.
Chief Executive Christopher Luxon says the airline sees strong potential to grow revenue and profitability by tapping into new markets, even in a lower demand growth environment. “We continue to see exciting growth opportunities that enhance our Pacific Rim strategy, including entering new markets such as Seoul.”