Wednesday 23rd October 2019
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Air New Zealand will withdraw its Los Angeles to London route after October 2020, with the potential loss of up to 155 jobs.
“Sadly, the withdrawal will see the disestablishment of our London cabin crew base of around 130 people and, subject to consultation, around 25 roles in our Hammersmith sales office and ground team,” acting chief executive Jeff McDowall said.
“We will be working with our people and their union to help with the next steps in their career, including looking at opportunities in other areas of the airline.”
According to McDowall, the decision was made because less than 7 percent of all airline travellers between Auckland and London chose to fly via Los Angeles last year.
“At the same time, the Atlantic has become one of the most hotly contested routes in the world and Air New Zealand lacks the home market advantages and scale of the North American and European airlines we’re up against,” he said.
Los Angeles-London services will operate as scheduled until October 2020 and no tickets have been sold beyond this date. Air New Zealand has chosen to announce the withdrawal more than a year in advance to allow time to support its people and to avoid any impact to customers booked to travel, he said.
Europe, including the UK, remains a significant sales region for Air New Zealand, he added.
Currently, more than two-thirds of revenue generated by its London team is unrelated to the Atlantic route and the airline will retain a sales, marketing and cargo presence in London to serve this important market beyond the cessation of the Los Angeles-London service.
Meanwhile, the airline also said it will launch a non-stop service between Auckland and New York using its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in October 2020.
“Air New Zealand is strongest when operating direct flights to and from our home base and this reset will put us in the best possible position to take advantage of increasing demand across the Pacific Rim,” McDowall said.
Air New Zealand will fly between Auckland and its alliance partner United Airlines’ New York hub - Newark Liberty International Airport. The service will operate three times weekly, year-round.
Tickets for Air New Zealand’s New York service will go on sale soon, subject to regulatory approvals and landing slot confirmation.
Air New Zealand shares last traded at $2.825 and have shed 8.9 percent so far this year.
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