Air New Zealand will introduce several changes to its Pacific network next year following a review of route profitability. Effective April 2, 2007, Air New Zealand will suspend its Los Angeles-Papeete-Rarotonga service, currently operated by the airline three times per week.
Instead, a weekly non-stop service between Los Angeles and Rarotonga will be reinstated by Air New Zealand to further develop the link between North America and the Cook Islands. This will be extended to a twice weekly service during peak travel periods. Air New Zealand services between Rarotonga and Auckland will continue as regularly scheduled.
At the same time Air New Zealand will code-share with Air Tahiti Nui four days a week on its non-stop Los Angeles-Papeete services maintaining connections to/from London.
A four times weekly non-stop service between Papeete and Auckland will be provided jointly by Air New Zealand and Air Tahiti Nui under a code share arrangement, subject to government approval.
Group General Manager Short Haul Airlines Norm Thompson said the decision to suspend the services was difficult given the historic links Air New Zealand has with the Pacific and the importance placed on tourism by the Pacific Island economies.
“Air New Zealand has been flying the Coral Route for over fifty years and acknowledges in particular the importance of visitors from the Northern Hemisphere to both French Polynesia and the Cook Islands.
“However, we cannot justify retaining our current level of service through Papeete and Rarotonga from Los Angeles. The high costs and low yields make this route unsustainable so we will suspend these flights as from the end of March next year,” said Mr. Thompson.
“We will continue to work closely with the Governments of both countries and their respective tourism industry representatives to monitor demand on the routes and would certainly consider adding capacity or reinstating services if sustainable,” he said.
Air New Zealand’s new code-share arrangement with Air Tahiti Nui, which is subject to approval by the respective governments, will offer North Americans a better spread of non-stop services to and from the Pacific.
Air Tahiti Nui Chief Executive, Eric Pommier, said, “We look forward to working with Air New Zealand in this new code-share arrangement that will benefit both companies as well as our respective countries. This new cooperation will provide a better distribution of services between New Zealand and French Polynesia and afford convenient and improved frequencies to all of our customers.”
Also announced today are day of week changes to Air New Zealand services between Los Angeles and Nadi (three times weekly). The other four days will be operated as a code share on Air Pacific subject to government approval.
Under this arrangement, a daily schedule will be provided between Los Angeles and Fiji with connections to Air New Zealand’s services to/from London which will greatly enhance North America tourism flows into the Pacific.
Details of the Pacific schedule changes effective April 2, 2007 are as follows:
—Los Angeles-Papeete-Rarotonga-Auckland: three times weekly roundtrip service suspended.
—Los Angeles-Rarotonga: non-stop weekly roundtrip service - operated by Air New Zealand. Services to be increased to twice weekly during peak travel periods.
—Los Angeles-Papeete: four times weekly, non-stop roundtrip service - operated by Air Tahiti Nui with Air New Zealand code-share.
—Papeete-Auckland: four non-stop return services per week - Air New Zealand (two) and Air Tahiti Nui (two) with reciprocal code-share on all services.
—Los Angeles-Nadi: new days of operation for the non-stop roundtrip service: Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Air New Zealand. Days of operation for Air New Zealand code-share flights on Air Pacific: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.