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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.