News from Stuff
Air New Zealand has increased its domestic capacity to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, thanks to higher demand than expected.
The airline was operating at 55 per cent of its usual capacity in July and had planned to do so in August as well, but demand for flights has seen it boost flights by a further 15 per cent.
Chief executive Greg Foran said on Thursday that the airline had underestimated how well New Zealand domestic air travel would recover after the country moved out of lockdown.
General manager networks Scott Carr said the airline would add or upgauge – operate larger-capacity planes – on 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.”
Routes to and from Auckland with additional or upgauged services connect with Christchurch, Wellington, Nelson and Queenstown.
Impacted routes from Wellington connect with Blenheim, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Queenstown, Tauranga and Timaru.
Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran says the domestic market has recovered surprisingly well, post-lockdown.
From Christchurch, affected routes connect with Dunedin, Hamilton, Invercargill, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Queenstown, Tauranga and Wellington.
Covid-19 forced Air New Zealand to slash its network capacity by up to 95 per cent at one point, resulting in more than 15,000 flight cancellations.
Speaking to the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee on Thursday, Foran said the airline’s international business had essentially been reduced to cargo and repatriation services.
But the domestic business had rebounded better than expected since lockdown was lifted, with even business travel showing signs of recovery, he said.