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Air New Zealand to axe London to Hong Kong service

Air New Zealand is axing flights between London and Hong Kong next spring in a drive towards returning its international network to profitability.

About 70 London-based cabin crew are being lost as a result.

The airline has also formed a strategic agreement with Cathay Pacific on the Auckland–Hong Kong route.

Passengers holding tickets to fly with Air New Zealand between Hong Kong and London from March 4, 2013 will be re-booked.

In most cases they will transfer onto Cathay’s services which depart within an hour of Air New Zealand’s existing flight.

Chief executive Rob Fyfe said a comprehensive review of the Hong Kong – London service has confirmed the route would not become profitable in the foreseeable future.

Air New Zealand started services between Hong Kong and London in October 2006 and has operated between five and seven times a week using a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

The decision to exit from Hong Kong–London will enable more capacity to be re-deployed onto the US destinations of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Air New Zealand last month announced a further 5,000 return seats to its North American routes through to the end of June 2013. Releasing capacity from Hong Kong–London enables the continuation of this additional capacity.

“At the same time, we wanted to strengthen our presence in Hong Kong which is an important market and vital gateway into mainland China for Air New Zealand,” said Fyfe.

“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 December 12, 2012.

“The agreement will see both carriers continue to operate the same frequency between Auckland and Hong Kong while introducing code share on each other’s flights as well as opening up excellent connections between New Zealand and mainland China.”

Air New Zealand operates daily year round services between Auckland and Hong Kong while Cathay Pacific operates daily year round services and up to double daily in the peak period between December 2 and March 1.

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