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Air New Zealand has announced it will not resume its Los
Angeles-London or Auckland-Buenos Aires routes due to the impact of the
Covid-19 pandemic on forward travel demand.
The airline had already announced that it was closing its
London cabin crew base ahead of schedule, as it was planning to cease the Los
Angeles-London route in October 2020 in favour of a new direct service between
Auckland and New York.
However, Air New Zealand has also said it will postpone the
launch of that new route from 29 October until late 2021 “at the earliest”.
Nick Judd, the airline’s chief networks, strategy and alliances
officer, commented: “It’s deeply disappointing to be in this position. Our
people have worked tenaciously over the years to build these markets and
excitement was growing for our non-stop New York flight. However, the effects
of Covid-19 continue to bite; we expect most countries to take a cautious
approach to international travel in the next year and we have to be pragmatic.
“Government travel restrictions will continue for some time
and demand for our Los Angeles-London service is unlikely to recover before our
planned exit in October. Argentina has been challenging before the pandemic and
we don’t expect this market to recover quickly.”
The carrier is operating a limited international network
through 30 June to keep air links open for essential travel and cargo movement
on key trade routes. Its total capacity has been reduced by 95 per cent and it
says demand will be reviewed on a route-by-route basis before services are
The New Zealand government has said it believes it has
effectively stopped community transmission of the coronavirus after reporting
new cases in the single digits for several days in a row. The country will
allow some non-essential business, healthcare and educational activities to resume,
but social distancing measures are to remain in place to prevent a second