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Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
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Carry on: Air NZ farewells Beechcrafts, world's longest flight and A350s delayed

News for business travellers also names the airlines that created the most new routes in 2015.

Nevil Gibson
Sat, 16 Jan 2016

Air NZ schedules final Beechraft services
Air New Zealand’s switch to larger aircraft on all its regional services will be complete by the end of August. The 19-seater Beechcraft 1900D will be replaced by 30-seater Bombardier Q300s.

The Beechcraft are operated by Eagle Air as Air New Zealand Link and will first be withdrawn from the Wellington-Timaru and Wellington-Hamilton services on March 27 and 28, respectively. Other phaseouts are Wellington-Blenheim April 21), Christchurch-Blenheim (May 1) and Christchurch-Hokitika (July 31).

The withdrawal will be completed on August 26, when the Beechcraft are finally used on the Wellington-Gisborne
and Wellington-Palmerston North services.

Meanwhile Air New Zealand s planning additional capacity for the Auckland-Papeete route from July 27 to August 17, when one of the three weekly services will be operated by a Boeing 777-200ER instead of the Boeing 767-300ER. This will occur on Wednesdays from Auckland and Tuesdays from Papeete.

Emirates delays longest commercial flight
Emirates is postponing its planned launch on the Dubai-Panama City route for two months. The service, described as the longest commercial flight at 17.5 hours for the 8700-mile journey, will now occur on March 31 instead of the original February 1 date. A Boeing 777-200LR will operate this route on daily basis.

Separately, Emirates is expanding its Dubai-Perth route with the two daily services moving to all-A380 operation from August 1.  Emirates is also boosting the capacity on its service from Dubai to Lusaka and Harare, in Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively. The current Airbus A340-300 will be replaced with a Boeing 777-300ER.

Singapore delays first A350 services
Singapore Airlines (SIA) is partly blaming delays by its component supplier Zodiac Aerospace for its first Airbus A350 commercial flights being put back to March or April. Zodiac is contracted to provide seats and toilets, while pilot training is another factor.

SIA has 10 A350s scheduled for delivery this year and Airbus says at least 50 will be delivered in total. Airbus chief executive Fabrice Brégier says, "Last year we suffered a lot with Zodiac. I expect they will manage to do better this year, especially as a lot of A350s are directly linked to their performance on lavatories and seats."

Meanwhile, SIA is expanding its operations on the Singapore-Brisbane route with an additional three flights a week. From May 28, the overall frequency will increase from 21 to 24 flights a week.

Ryanair, EasyJet top new route stakes in 2015
Budget airlines top the tables for the most new routes in 2015, with Ryanair and Easyjet unveiling 99 new routes each. This is 35 fewer than Ryanair added in 2014. Next were two other European budget airlines: Spain’s Vueling and Hungary’s Wizzair with 90 and 85 more routes respectively.

During 2015, some 3100 new services were launched in 173 countries, working out at almost 60 a week. US airports received more than twice as many new services as any other country, with 827 new routes. Russian airports saw 381 new routes, closely followed by China with 378. Around 1100 new services have already been announced for 2016, compared to 1000 this time last year.

Route news of the week
Fiji Airways is adding a new seasonal Nadi-San Francisco operation from June 16 to August 16 with Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The airline already has a service to Los Angeles. Malaysia Airlines will reduce its service to Nepal from February 1. The overall Kuala Lumpur-Kathmandu flights will be cut from two to once daily. This flight is operated by Boeing 737-800 on nonstop basis.

Nevil Gibson
Sat, 16 Jan 2016
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Carry on: Air NZ farewells Beechcrafts, world's longest flight and A350s delayed