Air New Zealand issues domestic flight plans under alert level 2

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Side view of Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 (ZK-SUJ) landing at London Heathrow Airport. (Adrian Pingstone/ WikiCommons)
Side view of Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 (ZK-SUJ) landing at London Heathrow Airport. (Adrian Pingstone/ WikiCommons)

Air New Zealand issues domestic flight plans under alert level 2

Air New Zealand has announced that flights will restart under alert level 2 to most domestic airports. The cabinet will reveal whether New Zealand will go into alert level 2 tomorrow.

The Air New Zealand routes to operate at alert Level 2 include:

  • Auckland to/from: Christchurch, Gisborne, Kerikeri, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Wellington, Whangarei and Queenstown.
  • Christchurch to/from: Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson, Palmerston North, Wellington and Queenstown.
  • Wellington to/from: Blenheim, Gisborne, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Tauranga.
  • Services to Taupo, Hokitika and Timaru will return as demand allows.

However, Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran acknowledged that Air NZ will only operate at 20% of its domestic capacity before the pandemic and that returning to its pre-COVID19 capacity will be a “slow process.”

Prior to this announcement Air NZ had announced the cancellation of flights scheduled for May and June. At the time the airline also said that 300 pilots were being made redundant with the remaining 900 pilots taking a 30% pay cut.

Foran said Air New Zealand has been eager to start domestic services “as soon as practicably possible” to support New Zealand’s economic recovery and to restore New Zealand’s contact with family, friends and businesses.

But he admitted that even if the country came out of the alert level 1, domestic services will operate with fewer and less frequent flights.

He said, “This is the harsh reality of closed international borders and a depressed domestic economy, with more Kiwis in unemployment and people watching what they spend,”

Fran also warns of a spike in airfares well above pre-COVID19 levels to compensate for a reduction in flight capacity under the government’s physical distancing protocol.

He said, “One-metre social distancing means we can only sell just under 50 percent of seats on a turboprop aircraft and just 65 percent on an A320. On that basis, to ensure we cover our operating costs, we won’t be able to offer our lowest lead in fares until social-distancing measures are removed.”

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