Air New Zealand forced to shut down Auckland – Beijing flights – Kiwis now rely on Air China

Written by Your VIPTRIP Team on January 28th, 2012

Air New Zealand cuts its twice-weekly nonstop flights between Auckland and Beijing “in order to concentrate” on services to Shanghai.  NEW! Air New Zealand passengers have to use Star Alliance partner Air China services between Shanghai and Beijing. The new travel time will be approximately 6 hours longer.

The carrier will add a fifth weekly service to Shanghai in a move it calls an “expansion” of services to China.

“Following a review of current services into China, Air New Zealand has determined that this expansion will best be achieved by consolidating services into Shanghai,” the airline said.

It will add a fifth weekly service to Shanghai from July 4 but will suspend its twice-weekly direct Auckland to Beijing service from June 30.

Travel between New Zealand and China has ramped up in recent years.  The number of short-term Chinese visitors has climbed by about 49,000 in the year ended February 29 from 2010, while the number of Kiwis rose almost 12,000.

Air New Zealand is aiming for a $110 million profit improvement from its long-haul services by 2015, which are now an under performing part of the company.  The airline’s first-half profit sank 61% to $38 million on higher fuel costs and fewer international passengers. International airline group general manager Christopher Luxon (41, former Unilever manager now Air New Zealand)  said the airline still considers Beijing “an important and growing market”. He said its Air China code-share arrangement provides convenient connections between Shanghai and Beijing in both directions (an extra 6 hours – no  joke ).

“Air New Zealand has been operating to mainland China for more than five years and is highly committed to the potential of the market long term,” Luxon said.

The airline has just created a new position of head of Asian operations and appointed Sandeep Bahl, “a highly experienced airline executive in the region,” to the position in its Shanghai office.

“Under his guidance, we will focus our marketing and sales resources on the Shanghai region of around 14 million people.”

The shares fell 0.6% to 85 cents in trading today

Air New Zealand faces more competition and has to compete with cheaper airfares Auckland to China – Beijing Shanghai Hongkong Guangzhou- due to more flights operated by  airlines like China Southern Air China China Eastern China Airlines Cathay Pacific and others. -source media-

 

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Air New Zealand has named Christopher Luxon, 40, a New Zealander who has held senior positions at Unilever, to the role of group general manager international airline from May 30.

The position was previously held by Ed Sims whose departure was signalled last year.

Mr Luxon has been chief executive of Unilever Canada and since January he has also led Unilever’s personal care business in the United States.

He joined Unilever in 1993 after leaving the University of Canterbury.

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