Air New Zealand has announced several changes to its schedule in part due to the ongoing issues it faces due to the Rolls Royce Trent engines issues on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. These issues are expected to have an impact until at least late 2019.
The airline is suspending its seasonal route from Auckland to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam that it has flown for the past few years during the New Zealand Winter from June to October. This route will not return for 2019.
Demand for the route had been strong but has seen light loads at times this year. Customers wanting to head to Vietnam can still fly via Singapore or Hong Kong on alliance partners.
Services to Tokyo Haneda are being temporarily suspended over the Northern Hemisphere Winter from October thru to March. Air New Zealand currently serves both Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita, and will fly additional services to Tokyo Narita during this period to replace most Haneda services. Seasonal services to Osaka Kansai that commence next month are unaffected by this change.
Haneda is an important destination for Air New Zealand due to it's proximity to Tokyo (it's much closer than Narita) and changes at the airport in recent years have seen a growing number of airlines move their services there. Connections through to Europe are now increasingly far better via Haneda than via Narita.
Slot times however are an issue - Air New Zealand slot times are limited to between 2200 and 0600 meaning the inbound service from New Zealand lands at 0555 and departs again at 2205, meaning an aircraft is parked up all day before the outbound service. In light of the reduced Dreamliner fleet, moving the service to Narita means a 90 min turnaround and improves fleet efficiency.