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Current as of 24/10/14 07:40PM NZST

Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Cathay gateway to Europe

Kiwi travellers to Europe could ultimately benefit from Air New Zealand's axing of flights from Hong Kong to London. Photo / Geoff Sloan
Kiwi travellers to Europe could ultimately benefit from Air New Zealand's axing of flights from Hong Kong to London. Photo / Geoff Sloan

Kiwi travellers to Europe could ultimately benefit from Air New Zealand's axing of flights from Hong Kong to London, one of the country's largest travel agencies says.

The national carrier will code share with Cathay Pacific on the route from March.

House of Travel said Air New Zealand was a favourite for travellers, but the airline has only one point of entry and exit in Europe - London.

"Kiwis who fly to Europe [on Air NZ] would land in London, but would often like to travel around and fly back from somewhere else which is not always possible when they're booking Air New Zealand," said Brent Thomas, a commercial director at the agency.

"It's going to be an advantage to New Zealanders who want to code share Air New Zealand and Cathay, because obviously Cathay flies to several ports around Europe and this would give them more flexibility."

The airline announced yesterday a code share deal with the Hong Kong-based airline that would see both carriers continue to operate the same frequency between Auckland and Hong Kong, and opening up connections in Europe and China.

Passengers booked to fly from March 4 next year will be re-booked, many onto services provided by Cathay Pacific.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe said the axing of the Hong Kong-London flights was made after a review found the route was not going to be profitable.

The airline will have lost tens of millions of dollars on the service and will use spare capacity to grow into the more lucrative North American market.

It has a monopoly flying directly into the United States across the Pacific.

Air NZ deputy chief executive Norm Thompson said no other long-haul routes were under review and it was pleased with the performance of its Los Angeles service.

"It (HK-London) has been a loss-making route virtually since we've started flying it. What we're doing is taking that capital and pointing it west where we believe we'll be able to enhance the profits from North America," said Thompson, who on Monday told staff in London that 70 cabin crew roles were going.

"We've talked about developing a Pacific Rim strategy and this is part of that. The Auckland-Los Angeles route to London is very much fixed in our network and there's no changes there."

Flight plan

* Hong Kong-London route axed from March 4
* Strategic agreement and code share with Cathay Pacific.
* Hong Kong-London passengers on Air NZ after March 4 re-booked, mainly on Cathay.

- NZ Herald

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