Air New Zealand will continue to fly a limited international network until at least mid-year, reflecting continued low demand and no certainty as to when the coronavirus crisis will be over.
The Kiwi carrier's overall international capacity is now pegged at just 5% of its pre-coronavirus levels, with the new network dictated by "government travel restrictions and low demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic" and shaped by the need "to keep air links open for essential travel and cargo movement on key trade routes."
However, while Air New Zealand says the current schedule will extend to 30 June 2020, "all services are subject to change as governments continue to introduce or change travel and border restrictions."
With both Australia and New Zealand enacting tight controls on the movement of international passengers, the Star Alliance member's trans-Tasman services have been trimmed to just three return flights per week between Auckland and Sydney, with two per week for Auckland-Melbourne and Auckland-Brisbane.
Low demand makes social distancing easy
But even filling those handful of flights is an ongoing challenge. AirNZ's Chief Revenue Offer Cam Wallace notes that on Monday April 6, the airline's four trans-Tasman flights carried only 209 passengers in total – an average of barely 50 per flight.
The flagship Auckland-Los Angeles route is also down to three flights per week, with two weekly services between Auckland and Hong Kong
Auckland-Shanghai will see three return services per week from May 31, although Wallace qualifies this will be "cargo-only at this stage."
Domestic demand has also been crimped, with Thursday April 9 seeing 373 passengers across 14 flights, Wallace reported.
The airline has set up a dedicated COVID-19 information hub on its website, and encourages passengers with bookings to contact the airline only if they are due to fly within the next 48 hours.
Airpoints status extended
While its frequent flyers remain grounded, Air New Zealand is granting 12 months of free status to all Airpoints Silver, Gold and Elite tier members.
Airpoints members who have already retained their Gold or Silver tier through to 2021 will see that status extended a further 12 months into 2022, while members on Parental Hold will have their extension granted at the end of the Parental Hold period.