Carry on: Air NZ boosts Dreamliner routes, new BA shareholder and more

Air New Zealand advances Dreamliner services to China, US
Air New Zealand is moving forward its planned daily Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operations to China while introducing them to a Noth American routes.

The 787-9 will operate on the Auckland-Shanghai Pu Dong route from August 24 instead of from October 25. The airline currently operates Boeing 777-200ER and 787-9 aircraft on this route.

Air New Zealand will also operate Boeing 787-9 aircraft once a week on Sundays to the Auckland-Los Angeles route from September 27 to October 18 only. . The airline has also expanded its codeshare partnership with Air Canada to destinations within the Province of British Columbia, as well as to the Province of Alberta.

Qatar grabs share of British Airways owner
Qatar Airways has taken a 9.99% stake in British Airways owner IAG (International Airlines Group), making it the single biggest shareholder of the airline group.

Qatar says it "may consider increasing its stake over time." But non-EU investors are limited by rules that mean more than half of IAG's stock must be owned by EU investors.

The Gulf carrier says the move is designed to "enhance operations and strengthen existing commercial ties initiated through codeshare agreements with IAG as well as its membership of the oneworld alliance."

Skymark seeks bankruptcy protection
Japan’s third largest carrier after JAL and ANA, Skymark Airlines, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo after a decision to purchase six Airbus Group NV A380 superjumbos flopped. The carrier filed with 71 billion yen in liabilities and president Shinichi Nishikubo has stepped down in favour of chief financial officer Masakazu Arimori.

Skymark will get restructuring support from private-equity firm Integral. Doubts about Skymark’s ability to fund the planes had led Airbus to scrap the order worth $US2.5 billion in list prices.

Route news of the week
South African Airways is ending its thrice-weekly Johannesburg – Beijing operation from March 30. Star Alliance partner Air China, which codeshares on this flight, is also no longer taking reservations for this flight.

Qatar Airways is increasing service to Singapore, with the addition of a third daily Doha-Singapore flight from June 1. The airline expects to use the new Airbus A350-900XWB on this route, which is also served by Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Garuda Indonesia season is reducing operations on the Jakarta-Sydney route in the northern summer. Overall, the service reduces from five to four weekly flights from March 29. Ethiopian Airlines has shelved a planned service resumption to Singapore, due to start from April 2.

Previously it planned to operate a three-weekly Addis Ababa-Singapore nonstop service, using Boeing 787-8.