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Air New Zealand restructures Los Angeles services

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 10 February 2003

Air New Zealand will suspend its nonstop flights between Sydney and Los Angeles effective after the last flight on 27 April, 2003.

Daily Air New Zealand flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland will connect with onward nonstop services to Los Angeles, as will two weekly Cairns-Auckland flights. Air New Zealand also has a code share arrangement on direct Sydney-Los Angeles services operated by fellow Star Alliance carrier United Airlines.

Air New Zealand's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ralph Norris, said the decision to suspend Sydney - Los Angeles services was made as part of a detailed review of the airline's long haul business, which showed the route was among the least profitable, and had been since late 2001 when the airline cut back from daily flights on the route after September 11.

He said the recent decision of United Airlines to withdraw from the Auckland - Los Angeles route from April was also causing a significant increase in demand for flights, and the aircraft were required to increase seat capacity in that market.

Air New Zealand will increase its Auckland - Los Angeles services from 14 to 17 per week from April, as announced last month.

Mr Norris said Air New Zealand was not confident to introduce additional aircraft to operate both routes, given the potential Iraq situation, the current status of the proposed alliance with Qantas and a worldwide shortage of aircraft compatible with the Air New Zealand fleet.

He also emphasised that the suspension of Sydney - Los Angeles flights and the transfer of aircraft from that route did not preclude re-entry to the Australia  - USA nonstop market if conditions improved in both demand and global stability.

Air New Zealand's Vice President, Australia, Mr Paul Donovan, said the suspension of the five weekly nonstop flights between Sydney and Los Angeles was a consequence of current operational requirements. Although this was a change in the way Air New Zealand served the USA market, it did not diminish the airline's commitment.

"The USA is extremely important for Air New Zealand from Australia, and we remain committed to competing strongly and daily in this market," said Mr  Donovan.

 "The Auckland - Los Angeles route attracts stronger demand and better revenue than the nonstop Sydney - Los Angeles route," he said.

"By deploying our aircraft on the best performing route, we can provide a more sustainable service for our customers, while continuing to serve the needs of Australia - USA and New Zealand - USA passengers."

Customers booked to travel on Air New Zealand's nonstop flights between Sydney and Los Angeles after 27 April will be offered alternative Air New Zealand services.

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