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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Air New Zealand says farewell to London route

Air New Zealand is to sack 130 flight crew and abandon its daily Los Angeles-London service from October 2020.

It will be replacing the axed flights with a non-stop Auckland to New York flight.

The national carrier's acting chief executive officer Jeff McDowall said that while it was difficult to farewell the London route, the airline needs to focus on the best opportunities for long-term profitable growth.

"Air New Zealand is strongest when operating direct flights to and from our home base and this reset will put us in the best possible position to take advantage of increasing demand across the Pacific Rim," he said.

The New York service, which will operate three times weekly, will launch in October 2020 and will use the company's 787-9 Dreamliner.

McDowall spoke of the "disestablishment" of the London cabin crew base and sales office.

"We will be working with our people and their union to help with the next steps in their career, including looking at opportunities in other areas of the airline, he said.

Air New Zealand has been flying the LA-London route since 1982, but McDowall said consumer choices had changed over the years.

"Today Kiwis have more than twice the number of ways to fly to London than a decade ago and preferences have changed. Less than 7% of all airline travellers between Auckland and London chose to fly via Los Angeles last year."

The New Zealand national flag carrier also used to fly to London via Hong Kong but that service ended in 2013.

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