Air New Zealand remains committed to South Island tourism
The airline has today announced that it will no longer operate a seasonal Tokyo to Christchurch service this northern winter and will instead concentrate on the existing year round Tokyo to Auckland service which will be operated exclusively by the airline’s new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft from the end of August.
Air New Zealand’s Chief Sales and Commercial Officer Cam Wallace says, “We accept this is disappointing for Christchurch tourism stakeholders, however, the Tokyo-Auckland service is deliberately timed to arrive into Auckland in the morning so that tourists can easily connect to Christchurch and other South Island destinations. Departing flights to Tokyo are also timed to enable same day connections from Christchurch and beyond.”
Mr Wallace says the Tokyo-Christchurch service accounts for just 0.3% of total seats into Christchurch. “In FY16 Air New Zealand will operate 250,000 more seats into Christchurch than in this financial year. This growth will come from a mix of domestic and trans-Tasman services. We’re committed to continuing our seasonal trans-Tasman alliance service between Christchurch and Perth as well as significant capacity growth on other trans-Tasman and domestic services.”
Mr Wallace says the decision follows research undertaken in Japan with consumers and the travel trade. “There was no clear preference to fly into Christchurch. In fact, since we moved to daily Tokyo-Auckland flights our experience is that customers are increasingly choosing to arrive in Auckland rather than Christchurch.”
The transition to the new 787-9, while offering a much improved customer experience for travellers, also presents some operational challenges. Mr Wallace says that not only is it more expensive to fly the extra distance to Christchurch, the aircraft then has to be re-positioned to Auckland to continue operating its scheduled services.
This flight has previously been operated as a domestic Christchurch-Auckland service, but as the 787-9 cannot operate to the Auckland domestic terminal this will no longer be possible as the aircraft would need to be repositioned empty adding to the overall cost of operating to Christchurch.
Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 21 747 320
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Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. The integration of Avianca Brasil is currently in progress. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.