Monday, 6 October 2008

Air NZ cuts International flights from Dunedin & Hamilton

The country's largest airline - Air New Zealand - has announced major cuts to its trans-tasman international flights from regional airports in both Hamilton and Dunedin.

From late March until October next year, Air NZ will ground its international flights from Hamilton to Sydney and Hamilton to Coolangatta. The airline will continue its Hamilton to Brisbane flights, albeit with just two flights a week.

Air New Zealand will also cut back its trans-tasman schedule in the south, with the Dunedin to Brisbane and Dunedin to Sydney services reducing to five flights a week (currently seven a week).

The cutbacks come as Air NZ focuses on trying to increase profits as passengers numbers fall. The airline says it is responding to "unprecedented demand" by adding another 18 Pacific Premium Economy seats to its eight Boeing 777-200ER aircraft (making a total of 36 seats).

The Premium Economy seats offer more leg room and personal space, along with business-class style service including food and wine. (Air NZ charges more for its Premium Economy ticket, while some international airlines like United offer free upgrades to their "extended leg-room" services for regular customers).

Meanwhile, Nathan Agnew from Air New Zealand is heading a team tasked with trying to "reinvent economy class". That could include a total redesign of the plane seat, and splitting Economy into three different classes (Premium, Standard, and Lite).

* Stuff: Air NZ axes Hamilton international flights

* NZ Herald: Air NZ to double its premium economy seats on 777s

* The Australian Business: Air NZ's Nathan Agnew leads economy-class redesign team

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