23 MARCH 2020
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First established back in 1982, Air New Zealand (NZ) flew its final Heathrow – Los Angeles – Auckland service last Saturday (21 March).
Readers may recall that at one time the airline also offered an alternative routing via Hong Kong.
The airline made the decision to bring forward the closure of its London cabin crew base of 130 flight attendants due to the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions imposed by global governments. The airline says the route will return on 30 June but this seems unlikely with its final withdrawal due in October 2020.
Earlier in the week NZ announced it is reviewing its cost base in response to COVID-19 and is working with unions on a range of measures to reduce its labour bill by 30%. In recent times the airline has faced considerable competition from Middle East carriers able to offer a different cabin style from NZ but, more importantly, a customs free transit. The United States imposed an (illegal) passport inspection in recent years, claimed due to security reasons. The US has not missed out with the Boeing Dreamliners previously used on the route transferred to a New York service. (See BTN 28 October 2019)
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