Air NZ axes Hong Kong to London

20:00, Nov 05 2012

Air New Zealand is axing flights between Hong Kong and London in a bid to recover profits.

The service will be cut from March next year after a review found it was not likely to become profitable in the foreseeable future, the airline says.

Around 70 London-based cabin crew jobs are expected to be slashed.

The move will enable more capacity to be redeployed to North American destinations such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, chief executive Rob Fyfe said.

Last month the company announced a further 5,000 return seats to its North American routes through to the end of June 2013.

Customers with tickets between Hong Kong and London from March 4, 2013 will be re-booked, in most cases onto Cathay Pacific.

Around 8000 customers are affected. Koru members will still receive lounge access and benefits.

‘‘We wanted to strengthen our presence in Hong Kong which is an important market and vital gateway into Mainland China for Air New Zealand,’’ Fyfe said.

‘‘In line with this we have received approval from the New Zealand Ministry of Transport to form a strategic agreement with Cathay Pacific effective from 12 December 2012.”

Air New Zealand began flying services between Hong Kong and London in October 2006 and operated between 5-7 times a week.

Fyfe told analysts last year that no stone would be left unturned as part of the comprehensive review of its long-haul business, which was losing $1 million a week, including the possibility of pulling out of London.

Earlier this year Fyfe ruled out axing the flagship route, saying Air NZ would respond by better matching capacity to reduced passenger demand on the London service via Hong Kong and Los Angeles.