Strong Numbers Flying South says Air New Zealand

Invercargill is punching well above its weight post-Covid compared to many other airports around New Zealand, according to Air New Zealand’s chairwoman Dame Therese Walsh.

Speaking at a Southland Chamber of Commerce breakfast this morning, she said domestic services into the city were at 94% of what they were pre-Covid.

The average across the country was between 70% and 83%, and with Invercargill having 53 return flights a week, more people were using the domestic services compared to the same time in 2019.

Cargo freight had also increased more than four times on Invercargill to Auckland flights, from 1.6 tonnes a month (pre-Covid), to 6.7 tonnes currently.

Air NZ board members called into visit Jane Stantons latest venture the Southern Pioneers Food Hub, located above Seriously Good Chocolate. Photo: whatsoninvers.nz

“We have planes flying everyday and not just with passengers.   We’re up more than four times what it was pre-Covid in Otago to keep produce going to market,” she said.

Air New Zealand made the tough decision to reduce its workforce by more than 4000 staff last year, for the survival of the airline.

“There is nothing that can take away from the fact that what happened to Air New Zealand was heartbreaking,” she said.

With the Australian borders now open, Air New Zealand was flying into nine ports including Hobart for the first time in many years.

“Our biggest challenge is how are we going to service the hoards of Australians coming into New Zealand.”

With Asia-Pacific key relationships currently on hold right now, the airline was adapting to a new landscape and one that was now “more aggressive,” as a result of the pandemic.

Board member Dean Bracewell said their job was to make sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time, and to make sure the capacity is there when the switch has turned, and the borders are open again.

Related:

Minister Opens New Southern Pioneers Food Hub

Two Extra Return Flights To Auckland For School Holidays

Passenger numbers going through Invercargill Airport are getting back to where they were pre Covid.

This from Invercargill Airport manager Nigel Finnerty after Air New Zealand announced that it will put on two extra direct flights to Auckland for the upcoming school holidays.

The two return flights will operate this Saturday (17th)  and May 1st.

Air New Zealand direct flights to Auckland currently operate Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday using Airbus A320 jet aircraft.

Nigel Finnerty says having the two extra flights will be a great for the airport, great for Southland and great for people who are looking to come and visit family and friends in the south.

He says the extra services  will be great for travellers connecting with trans Tasman flights when  quarantine free travel to some Australian states resumes next week.

Nigel Finnerty says while business people are still travelling there has been a noticeable change in trend for air travel post Covid with lots more back packs and tramping boots evident with passengers going through the airport.

He says the recovery of the domestic air travel market is good news for outlying areas like Te Anau and Stewart Island.

Nigel Finnerty says passenger numbers going on to Stewart Island indicate that the Island has been very busy. He says this would probably be the best season that Stewart Island has seen.

Nigel Finnerty adds that the airport will be busy again on the weekend of the 22nd of May with two charter flights coming from Auckland for the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival.

 

 

Southland a Showcase of Regional Success

The success of the strengthening relationship between Air New Zealand and the Southland region was showcased at the New Zealand Airports Hui 2020 on October 28.

Southland Chamber of Commerce board member Carla Forbes spoke at the Hui, presenting with Air New Zealand’s Head of Tourism and Regional Affairs Reuben Levermore and Invercargill Airport general manager Nigel Finnerty.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) four years ago between Air New Zealand and Southland stakeholder organisations has grown the number of visitors to the region, encouraging cross collaboration and overall growth.

Comprising of the Southland Chamber of Commerce, Southland Mayoral Forum, Invercargill Licensing Trust, Iwi, Great South and HW Richardson Group, the partnership has become a single and loud regional voice to connect Southland to the country and the world. The outputs have been successful, with the commencement of direct jet services between Invercargill and Auckland, a cohesive story for Southland being pitched to wider New Zealand audiences, events support, partnerships, business, and tourism support.

Forbes said it was an honour to be asked to speak at the Hui, to showcase Southland as a collaborative partner and visitor destination.

“This partnership has increased access for business and leisure, which has had a hugely beneficial ripple effect across Southland,” she said.

“Our collaboration has allowed for meaningful outcomes and I think there’s absolutely potential to use the partnership as a model for other regions to add buoyancy to their economies – especially in a Covid world where domestic tourism is key.”

Her presentation, with Levermore and Finnerty, focused on the benefits of a collective voice for business and approach to regional promotion and how this translates to increased opportunities for Southland.

There have been so many projects that have succeeded due to our collective approach, primarily SoRDS (Southland Regional Development Strategy) , new industry development work, industry extension work, inner city development, start up business support and the list goes on, and all this is for nought if we are not an accessible region.

Finnerty said since the MOU was signed and the new terminal was opened at Invercargill Airport, he had seen a steady increase in the positivity of the region’s perception.

“The ease of doing business has really come into its own,” he said.

“We’re seeing Southland making it onto a lot of people’s holiday lists and Invercargill Airport is in a great position to support the growing business sector with meetings and conferences able to be held on-site.”

Air NZ Resumes Akld Flights From Monday – Masks Mandatory

 

Air New Zealand will resume flying all of its Auckland domestic routes when the region moves to Alert Level 2 on Monday.

The airline has been operating a reduced domestic schedule in and out of Auckland while it has been at Alert Level 3. The majority of the rest of Air New Zealand’s domestic network has remained unchanged but with physical distancing in place.

From Monday it will also be mandatory for customers travelling during Alert Level 2 to wear a face covering while on board. Customers are encouraged to bring their own, or a mask will be provided by the airline prior to boarding.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says while there will be more flights to and from Auckland, physical distancing will be in place across the airline’s domestic network so there will be fewer seats available for customers.

“Physical distancing means we can only sell just under 50 percent of seats on a turboprop aircraft and just 65 percent on an A320 which also means we won’t be able to offer our lowest lead in fares until physical distancing measures are removed. This has put huge pressure on our business as it means we need to move some of our customers to other flights. We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding while we work through these changes.

“When it comes to face coverings, this has been a requirement for those flying out of Auckland during Alert Level 3 and our customers have been really cooperative to date. We support the government’s move to mandate the wearing of face coverings on public transport at Alert Level 2 from next week.

“All Air New Zealand domestic cabin crew and front of house employees will be wearing masks and gloves, and pilots will wear masks when interacting with customers or moving through airport terminals.”

The airline has extended fare flexibility through until 11:59pm Sunday 6 September. Customers who hold a ticket booked directly with Air New Zealand for a domestic flight up until this date may opt to hold their fare in credit and can do this via the airline’s online booking tool while customers who have booked via a travel agent should speak with their agent to cancel their booking. Customers who no longer plan to travel are asked to do this as soon as possible to help the airline ensure physical distancing is possible and for other customers who need to travel.

Air New Zealand already has a number of safety measures in place to keep customers and staff safe which will continue in Alert Level 2. These include:

Customers are encouraged to check in for their flight via the Air New Zealand app, and allow extra time to process through check-in and security
For those checking in at larger airports, every second self-service kiosk will be operating to support physical distancing. There will also be floor markers for queuing at check-in counters, service desks, bag drops and departure gates, and fewer customers will be boarded and disembarked at a time
Inflight, seating will be allocated to allow an empty seat between customers travelling alone. The airline will aim to keep families and some travelling companions together, so there may be some people sitting together with no additional space between them
Food and beverage services on all domestic flights will not be available to minimise contact between customers and cabin crew. Customers should let cabin crew know if they would like a cup of water
Jet aircraft cabins have hospital operating theatre-grade HEPA filters installed, which filter out viruses.

Air New Zealand’s Auckland lounges and valet parking will reopen from Monday 31 August. Masks will be available for customers at all lounges. Due to capacity restrictions under Alert Level 2 the maximum number of people able to access any of the airline’s lounges is capped at 100.

For the latest information, customers can check the Air New Zealand COVID-19 Hub and travel alerts page.

Air New Zealand will continue to review its domestic network going forward based on demand and physical distancing requirements.

Air NZ Posts An After Tax Loss of $454 Million

Air New Zealand has posted one of the biggest corporate losses in recent memory as Covid-19 has all but grounded the airline in recent months.

 

The carrier reported an after-tax loss of $454 million for the year ended June compared with the previous year’s $276m profit.

Much of the loss was because of write downs in the value of planes, and restructuring costs as it cut costs and sacked about 4,000 staff, which altogether totalled $541m.

Stripping out one-off costs its underlying loss was $87m against $387m profit, as revenue fell 16 percent to $4.84 billion. The airline has received more than $100m in wage subsidies.

Chief executive Greg Foran said the pandemic had shown the airline’s core strength as it moved quickly to readjust through reduced services, control of costs, and laying up much of international fleet.

But he said the airline would struggle for the foreseeable future.

“However, we have to bear in mind that with almost 70 percent of our revenue derived from international flying, while border restrictions remain in place our business will continue to be significantly impacted.”

The airline has stopped virtually all international flights and has only managed to get to around 70 percent of domestic services before the recent resurgence of the virus.

“The recent resurgence of community transmission in New Zealand in August, has also reminded us that we cannot afford to be complacent,” Foran said.

Unlike most of its operations, Air New Zealand’s cargo business had solid growth in revenue as it increased flights for essential goods.

The carrier said it was burning cash at the rate of $65m to $85m a month, but as of this week it had $1.1 billion in cash reserves, which included the government backed loan of $900m, which it said it expected to start drawing on soon.

In March, Air New Zealand was given a $900m loan facility from the Crown, which it is able to call on if its cash reserves fall below an undisclosed level over the next two years. The government – which already owns 52 percent of the company – would have the ability to turn the loan into shares in the airline.

The loan, in two instalments, has interest rates of up to 9 percent, and there has been speculation Air New Zealand would look at an issue of shares as a cheaper option.

It said that it was looking at all options about the airline’s longer term capital structure. It also shied away from giving any detailed forecast for the coming year because of uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions and the level of demand.

“However, each of the scenarios we are currently modelling suggest we will make a loss in 2021.”

Foran said earlier this week physical distancing requirements meant Air NZ could sell less than half the available seats on turboprops and two thirds of the seats on jets. He said the airline could operate safely without distancing if crews wore PPE and passengers wore masks.

Gyles BeckfordBusiness Editor

Source: rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement.

Air New Zealand Domestic Schedule Ramps Up

Air New Zealand has ramped up its domestic schedule for August to 70 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels.

The airline had planned to operate around 55 percent of its usual domestic capacity (compared to pre-COVID-19 levels) during August.

Air New Zealand General Manager Networks Scott Carr says the airline has been pleasantly surprised with demand for domestic travel.

“As a result of demand, we’ve added or upgauged more than 400 one-way flights in August. This includes operating an additional 408 one-way flights and 18 flights which have been upgauged to a larger aircraft.”

Travelers from Invers will have more connecting services to and from Christchurch from August

There will also be an increase in services from Queenstown and Dunedin.

Earlier in the week Air New Zealand’s online credit tool went live allowing customers who hold credit directly with the airline to manage their credit online.

Invercargill – Auckland Direct Flights Resume Post Lockdown

Air New Zealand will resume its service today, operating on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The first flight landed about 12.40pm  departed less than an hour later at 1.25pm in gloomy conditions.

It was first launched last year and was heralded as a game changer.

But Covid-19 and lockdown put a dampener on the flights which last left Invercargill on 28 March.

Air New Zealand head of tourism and regional affairs, Reuben Levermore, said the return of the jet service has been highly anticipated by the Southland community.

“When we initially launched the jet service last year, we couldn’t have asked for a more enthusiastic response from the Southland community who know full well the value of a direct connection to our country’s largest city and international gateway,” Levermore said.

Great South chief executive Graham Budd said reestablishing the service was a real boost for Southland.

“The service renews the connectivity that is essential for locals, businesses, exporters and visitors, helping to put Invercargill and the wider Southland region on the map and playing a significant role in the region’s economic recovery,” Budd said.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said it was crucial for the national recovery and connectivity to reestablish the route and for people to explore the region.

The airline resumed its Wellington to Invercargill route yesterday with two additional return services each week of the school holidays.

Air NZ Financial Update – Not A Rosy Picture

Air New Zealand has told the NZ sharemarket that it expects an underlying loss of up to $120 million for the financial year to 30 June.

Air New Zealand planes parked up at Auckland Airport during the Covid-19 pandemic.Air

In an update on its earnings expectations, the company said the recent move to alert level 1 has enabled the airline to slowly restart the domestic network, however revenue and earnings are significantly lower than expected prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said it was now expecting an underlying operating loss of $120m.

But there are other significant one-off items which will boost the bottom line result.

The company is estimating re-structuring costs, including redundancies, will be between $140 and $160m

It has already disclosed that it expects other costs, including the write-down in the value of aircraft and losses on fuel contracts, which will be partly offset by gains on the sale of its slot at Heathrow Airport and foreign exchange gains.

The airline currently has a $900 million facility from the Crown which has yet to be drawn.

It has shed 4000 jobs across its business, and is looking at further possible redundancies as it looks to cut its wage bill by another $150m.

The carrier has repeated that even by 2022 it will be a third smaller than before the virus.

In its last financial year the airline had underlying earnings of $374m.

Great South Welcomes The Return Of Air New Zealand Jet Service Back To Invercargill

Today has been a great day for the Southland region!

Following the Government’s announcement of the national Tourism Recovery Package and support for Regional Tourism Organisations, Air New Zealand has confirmed that an A320 jet service will operate between Auckland and Invercargill.

The popular flight will operate four return jet services a week. In addition, a daily (Monday to Friday) return service between Invercargill and Wellington will also be available from Monday 6 July.

Great South Chief Executive Graham Budd welcomed the announcement and said the re-establishment of the flights was really critical for Southland’s economic re-start.

“Increased connectivity to and from Southland will provide further motivation for people to travel south and gives our local exporters and businesses a renewed sense of confidence in their operations post COVID-19,”

Mr Budd said the launch of the Auckland to Invercargill jet service in 2018 was the result of a collaborative and determined regional effort and the re-establishment was no different with many of Southland’s leaders and key stakeholders passionately advocating for the return of the service.

“Increased connectivity enhances business confidence and vibrancy across the region and along with our Southland stakeholders, we are ecstatic that Air New Zealand is enabling this connectivity and vibrancy to continue,”

Invercargill Airport General Manager Nigel Finnerty said it was great the service, which was performing well pre-COVID, was set to take off again.

“It is a real vote of confidence in Southland that the service has come back so quickly after we have opened up after lockdown and we are looking forward to its continued success,”

The Southland Chamber of Commerce echoed the delight of Great South and Invercargill Airport limited and encouraged people to support the service as they did pre-COVID.

“We are thrilled that the jet service will resume, this is another example of the power of Southland collaboration to ensure the region is heard. As this kind of connectivity is imperative to the recovery of our business community, we all need to do our part in ensuring its future success,”

Great South GM for Tourism and Events Bobbi Brown said the return of the direct flight service would connect domestic travellers with Southland’s incredible offering and strengthen Invercargill’s position as the Gateway to Southland.

“We are looking forward to amplifying the success of the Auckland to Invercargill jet service, with our local tourism operators, businesses and community all enjoying the extensive benefits that it will bring,”

“In addition to the Auckland-Invercargill jet service, we will also be resuming services between Invercargill and Wellington from 6 July, with one daily return service operated by our 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft throughout the week.”

The new Auckland-Invercargill jet schedule will operate on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The flight will depart Auckland at 10:35am, arriving in Invercargill at 12:40pm. The return flight will leave Invercargill at 1:20pm, arriving in Auckland at 3:20pm.

Flights will be progressively available to book over the coming days at airnewzealand.co.nz

Air NZ Turns Dreamliner Into Inter-Island Cargo Carrier

Air New Zealand has turned its Dreamliner into a cargo carrier.

The airline said it would fly the Boeing 787-9 jet between Christchurch and Auckland three times a week to take cargo from the South Island to international markets.

The announcement comes weeks after the airline announced it was grounding passenger flights on its Boeing 777 fleet until April next year, as it planned for a slow gradual entry back into international travel.

Cargo manager Rick Nelson said the services were being launched in response to significant demand from the South Island freight forwarding and export communities.

The first flight would leave Christchurch tomorrow night as part of a support agreement with the Ministry of Transport.

Passengers will also be able to book return flights on the Dreamliner between Christchurch and Auckland.

Nelson said flights were timed so cargo goods were able to connect to the airline’s new Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Narita and Shanghai cargo flights, as well as on to trans-Tasman flights from Auckland.

“As the nation emerges from lockdown, it’s critical our exporters in the South Island are well supported in order for them to remain viable,” Nelson said.

“These Dreamliner services from Christchurch will allow exporters with high value, perishable and time sensitive goods access to a same day air cargo link into international services departing from Auckland.”

Source: rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement