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Air NZ cuts Hong Kong-London service

Air New Zealand is cutting services between Hong Kong and London while also doing a deal with rival Cathay Pacific.

Air NZ chief executive Rob Fyfe says a review of the Hong Kong-London service has confirmed the route will not become profitable in the foreseeable future.  

“The agreement will see both carriers continue to operate the same frequency between Auckland and Hong Kong while introducing code share on each other’s flights as well as opening up excellent connections between New Zealand and Mainland China,” he says.

The changes are effective from March 4, 2013, while the codeshare is effective from December 12 this year.

It means Air New Zealand passengers will accrue Airpoints and Koru members will receive lounge access and other benefits while on codeshared Cathay Pacific flights from New Zealand to Hong Kong and a range of destinations in China.

The move continues a trend for airlines to cut deals that run across global alliances. Cathay Pacific is a partner with Qantas in the Oneworld alliance while Air New Zealand is a member of the Star Alliance.

The cessation of the flights through to London will mean the loss of 70 London-based cabin crew jobs.

Air New Zealand operates daily year round services between Auckland and Hong Kong while Cathay Pacific operates daily year round services and up to double daily in the peak period between December 2 and March 1.

Mr Fyfe says the freed up capacity will be redeployed on to the US destinations of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Last month, Air New Zealand announced a further 5000 return seats to its North American routes through to the end of June 2013.  

Air New Zealand will now focus its London service on its Los Angeles connection, where it has been contracted to design and operate a new Star Alliance lounge at the Tom Bradley terminal.

The 8000 customers holding tickets to commence travel with Air New Zealand between Hong Kong and London from March 4, 2013, will be rebooked, in most cases on to Cathay Pacific’s services that depart within an hour of Air New Zealand’s existing service.

Air New Zealand began services between Hong Kong and London in October 2006 and has operated between 5-7 times a week using a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

Comments and questions

Just been to and back Europe on Cathay Pacific. It was terrible would never fly with them again. Worst seats ever in the peasant class cabin. On the flight from Auckland to Hong Kong they did not serve coffee at all because it was a little bumpy in places. If you fly with them make sure you have plenty of sleeping pills.

do not worry, those seats are being kicked out by cathay

We refuse to fly Air NZ on international flights because they continue to price gouge us on domestic flights out of Nelson. We dont have a choice domestically but we sure do internationally, so what goes around comes around.

I also refuse to fly Air NZ on international flights as well. One Christmas eve day, about six years ago, I was 5 minutes late arriving at Auckland airport to fly to Palmerston North due to traffic. I was going down to spend xmas with my elderly father. The planes as it turned out were running 25 minutes late. I was still refused check in because I was 5 minutes late and the flight was now closed, even though a boarding call for the flight still had not been made and wouldn't be for another 20 minutes. Fair enough I thought. I'm late what can I do? When I asked about been booked on to the next available flight, I was told that my current ticket was now cancelled, (and there was no refund) and I would have to pay $425 for a full fare one way ticket to get on that plane. I used to be a frequent flyer with Air NZ, and must have flown between Akld and PN hundreds of times over they years, all over NZ with them, and almost all my international flights out of NZ were on Air NZ. But the Air NZ staff on counter couldn't give a stuff about any of that. So I told the guy to stick his airline up his a*se, and I have not flown with them since (except when there has been no alternative - which has only happened twice) and I do not intend to. What goes around comes around alright.

I also avoid Air NZ due to gouging on domestic Hawke's Bay flights. To UK normally use Malaysian as can then stay overnight at KL airport. Means all the way in daylight with recovery stop in a proper bed half way. Last year went Royal Brunei business class for under $4000 return but they no longer serve NZ. Very comfortable but tiring with 2 stops.

Interesting replies, seems I am not alone - I wonder if this message ver sinks in with the AirNZ top brass?. I also note below that many won't fly to Europe via the US (I wholeheartedly agree, why put up with the hassle?). Personally we don't look beyond Singapore Airlines for our European long haul. They are pretty dependable with decent service etc, plus they go through the most civilised airport in the world (Changi) and if you need a stop over Singapore is as decent a spot as any.

Why would Air NZ brass give a dark one when they still get paid bonuses for shrinking the airline

Air New Zealand pulled out of Singapore so SIngapore Airlines immediately tripled their capacity. No market? Not profitable?

Excellent point re using Malaysian to get to UK - far better proposition than Air New Zealand. You can check in at Auckland and even if you have a 12 hour overnight in KL Auckland will give you your ownward boarding pass. But best of all, they check your bags thru to London so you don't have to claim them in KL for the overnight, just take a change of clothes in your carry on!! Out of KL you can chose to fly on the A380 too. Air NZ doesn't provide this level of service ANYWHERE.

I just got back from London having flown on the Air NZ service. On the way over the plane was half full, while on the way back it was full. Very nice London based cabin crew, but I was surprised some of them had never been to NZ.
The sight of two Air NZ 777s in London was impressive.

I have heard that Cathay's Economy class seats are uncomfortably hard.

While the Cathay seats are a little hard by Western standards the service and reliability of Cathay is excellent. The cabin crew are always gracious and easy to move past as are not over-szed for the aisle environment like some Air NZ staff.. Cathay is frequently called upon to help out other airlines . I definitely recommend them. Do not expect them to take risks with hot water over your peron as some Americans are quick to sue for spillage, If you want more comfort be realistic and upgrade to Premier class. Ticket prices in Economy are lower than I would expect for them to make money.

yes Cathay functions basically for business class/first class/cargo, economy class exists just to fill the plane!

Any route other than via the USA where you are treated like a common criminal.Thank goodness Cathay are there because on the flights I have used the crews were great and the seats no worse than any other peasant class.

Did the people who chose Cathay actually travel on that carrier prior to making that decision?

we love cathay, best in the world and least racist flight attendants!

Air New Zealand are constantly self-congratulating themselves and putting it out there that they are the BEST, hippest, FUN airline in the whole UNIVERSE. And yet they can't make any money on their long haul flights. So what gives Air New Zealand? Are you guys not connecting with the needs of long haul customers?

How dare you be so unsupportive, #8 Anonymous, to suggest that body paint, All Blacks, Pedo-puppet, Richard Simmons, Random Hollywood celebs, Hobbit (have I forgotten any?), painting planes black, squeezing fat bums into pink, decreasing seat pitch, adding un-needed complexity to inflight product and attracting YouTube hits doesn't convert into bums on seats and dollars in the bank.

Everyone knows it's all about saving money, not making money.

Cutting HKG-LHR = BONUS!!... They'll just take from the frontline staff in order to ensure they can fund it.

While you're at it AirNZ why not recruit some more staff from China and send them down here to work in NZ like you've been doing. I hear they're cheaper than kiwis.

Hong Kong Chinese hostesses are no cheaper but they are more gracious,calm ,eager to solve problems and fit better into the tight aircraft economy class environment. Air New Zealand should keep any remaining ones for our sake-the paying (not much I admit) passengers!

This is a real shame as it means that when I fly back to the UK I'll have to go with the competitors now. I refuse to fly through the USA and get treated like a criminal through their bizarre immigration system (even though I'm not entering their country).

Still, Singapore Airlines is good, as is Emirates. Cathay's service is great but I haven't flown them since they changed the cattle class seats as I've heard bad things about them. But I do prefer Air New Zealand above all of these ... but not enough to suffer the indignity of travelling via the US.

Completely with you on this. Was forced to fly AirNZ recently business class to UK through LA. Arrived in LA to find no seats in the LA Koru Club for over an hour, and in the end sat downstairs. LA Airport is to be avoided at all costs, and I prefer to fly via Hong Kong and use the Thai lounge in HK.

Very sorry about this change. I think it is a bad move and will now fly SIngapore, despite being a AirNZ fan whenever possible. Perhaps AirNZ could use the London slot by taking a 777-300 onwards from San Francisco to London instead - far better than LA, so there remains two options to fly to the UK, rather than having to use the dreadful Virgin Atlantic connection from San Fran onwards.

I cant work out why the HK to London flight hasnt worked. I know a number of HK based people that use it.

BTW there are a lot of jets sitting on the ground at Auckland every time i fly in. Not a good sign on utliisation - I wonder if something else is going on here.

Hong Kong-London is Cathay's flagship route, they act ruthless to competitors, so many have tried to challenge them, Cathay is still the dominant carrier.

Even Low cost airlines stopped services!!!!

Looks like I'll never be flying to London on Air NZ as I refuse to enter the United Police States.

Hopefully they keep the Vancouver route so I can fly Vancouver - London on some other airline.

The AKL-YVR service is great, highly recommend it!

70 crew to lose their jobs and the airline shrinks while goons spend shareholder equity on a stupid hobbit "safety" video, painting planes black, and giving away free air fares? Who is accountable for these decisions?

No doubt pink shirt and his cronies will collect another bonus despite wrecking the share price, shrinking the airline and turning the lives of 70 people upside down.

Epic fail.

Disappointed as have always enjoyed Air NZ to London via HK – anything but thru US.

The Hobbit safety video does absolutely nothing for me. Just junk!

You can fly Auckland to Europe on Cathay for the price of a so called Air NZ "bereavement" faire to Hong Kong !

I won't touch NZ again because in business two people travelling together can't sit side by side. Price gouging from down south, where there's no competition, creates immense bad will towards NZ. Cathay extremely attentive but the beds a little narrow, Singapore is steadily slipping on service attitude. And who would want to stomach US immigration? Nothing beats Emirates.

So 70 flight attendants and airline growth are cut so that several senior mis-managers who are heading for the door at the end of this year can evacuate with their bonuses intact. If you pay taxes in this country, you're paying for this.

Why is it when you evacuate an airliner you're supposed to leave everything behind but when managers evacuate and airline they snatch and grab everything they can?.... allegedly, possibly, factually.

Yes,but they still paid 200 milion bucks for Virgin(one step above Ryan Air) shares!

Will Air New Zealand offer a full refund option? Instead of being forced to fly Cathey Pacific.

I always go through LAX . I go on NZ1 and NZ2. transit does not worry me at all. Cannot see what the fuss is about. Delay between flights minimal. Crew great.

Frequent Flyer is right ---I've never had any problems with US immigration. The only complaint on Auckland London through LAX is the pickup British crew they put on board at LAX. They have very different ideas about service compared to the Kiwi crew who come at Auckland. Why can't the Kiwis go all the way?

Why can't the Kiwi crew go all the way? Because the "happy talk cult" in Fanshawe Street think a low class London accent is a better than something uniquely Kiwi ... And they wonder why even Kiwis don't want to fly Air NZ.

It has to do with accomodation costs. London-based crew can go back home after duty, whereas, NZ crew would have to ge put up in hotels.

If it has to do with accomodation costs then why do they send their Auckland based pilots all the way to London and not the cabin crew? The combined pay of the pilots on a flight to London would exceed the combined wages and accomodation costs of all the cabin crew

Completely wrong and uninformed.

Hong Kong -London has been bleeding money a long time, there are too many super airlines competing on that route with 4-5+ daily flights and low price structure compared to AirNZ and its one. Europe has empty pockets and the Pacific Rim and Asia is the new focus because that's where the worlds wealth now is.. Looks like AirNZ is moving with the market and redirecting its capacity. Watch this space as I suspect this will free up aircraft and perhaps they may look at new destinations.
Some of you naysayers should be a little more patriotic to our national airline as they are not even a pimple on the backside of the aviation world when up against super carriers like Emirates, British , Cathay who order aircraft in the 50's and 100's.
If you wanna support the Arabs and Asians and send more of our money offshore to help their already booming economies then by all means, will they thank you for it?
As for YouTube and AirNZ methods of getting the message out there, whether you like it or not it works, and for pennies as opposed to mainstream advertising. They are saving millions and the hobbit video has already gone viral with over 5.5 million views last I saw. It's their way of staying innovative and ahead of the super carriers, otherwise pack your bags and close shop.

agree with your comments on too many airlines already serving the market and that hong kong-london would have been bleeding money for a long time. so the real question then is why didn't senior mgmt pull the trigger a number of years ago...

Cathay does 4x daily vs Air NZ daily

"Some of you naysayers should be a little more patriotic to our national airline "

I think Air New Zealand should be a little more patriotic. Employing crew in from China to work based in NZ thanks to perceived a loophole in the visa system. What am I thinking, there are no Kiwis who'd want those jobs, right?

Employing Brits and Chinese to work out of their respective countries. Kiwis couldn't possibly work up there.

Air New Zealand giving its flights to Lufthansa, Singapore and now Cathay. Kiwis have no choice but not to use Air New Zealand given that the airline is fast becoming a ticket on seller for other carriers.

Air New Zealand needs to stop making typically Kiwi excuses for itself and invest in making itself a competitor on the world stage if that's where it sees itself. Right now they're leading by example in showing New Zealanders that New Zealand products are inferior in the global market.

Get back to basics AirNZ. Invest in your product, not your gimmicks.

So China Southern creates a market between New Zealand and Europe via Guangzhou in a year that Air New Zealand's happy talk cult at the Hub are running away from. Frankfurt, Singapore and now Hong Kong, what's next, New Zealand? Keep collecting those bonuses though!

Historically AirNZ has run away from any route that has competition on it. So yes, when decent competitors comes along the Tasman, Pacific and yes even New Zealand will eventually go. That's if the same leadership model stays.

Luxon has an opportunity here. I'm open minded but not hopeful.

Agree, I have always had excellent service on both the HK and LA routes from Air NZ. HK is a far better transit stop to the UK but that should improve when the new terminal opens at LAX. Agree with #19 on the service from the UK based crew, noticeably different to the Kiwis.

Wished Air NZ had better food offerings than poor cuts like Beef Brisket and Chicken Thigh on AKL-HKG route in J. Had better food on trans tasman Y.

Agreed. At least on trans Tasman you have options everyone wants like salt and vinegar or original.