An apology letter to Air New Zealand customers from the airline’s boss shows the pressure the national carrier is under from not merely worldwide aircraft engine problems however the impact of New Zealand’s burgeoning tourism industry, an aviation commentator says.
Air New Zealand leader Christopher Luxon told customers within an email it turned out an “incredibly challenging year”, before outlining service cuts, plans to meet up with engine pressure and makers being imposed on stretched New Zealand airports to increase improvements.
Aviation commentator Peter Clark said several New Zealand airports, and also the country’s roading and accommodation infrastructure, were reaching “saturation point” due to increasing visitor numbers.
“We’re needs to hear the airports are receiving full … Auckland, Wellington, New Plymouth, Napier. Queenstown’s done it well [upgrades], but it will likely be at capacity soon.
“It is getting to the idea of ‘Have we got an excessive amount of tourism in New Zealand?'”
The Herald on Sunday last month highlighted any risk of strain on Auckland Airport, 3 years right into a 30-year development intend to create the “Airport into the future”, as demand soars.
More than 20 million passengers – a 7m upsurge in ten years – passed through the ageing domestic and international terminals within the last financial year.
Air New Zealand leader Christopher Luxon says it’s been an “incredibly challenging year” for the national airline carrier. File photo / Greg Bowker
Ministry of Business, Employment and innovation figures showed 3. the entire year to June 30 78m international visitors found its way to New Zealand in, up 4 %. International visitor arrivals are forecast to top 5m by 2024.
Airports weren’t spared in Luxon’s letter to customers – the principle executive noted a significant upsurge in people passing through airports in New Zealand had disrupted their operations, because of under investment.
“To put it simply, some airport facilities, in Auckland especially, are struggling to maintain with the surge popular for flights because of under investment by the airport companies.”
He was dealing with chief executives of several airports to accomplish whatever they might to “accelerate improvements”, Luxon said.
An Auckland Airport spokesman said the airport consulted “extensively with all our partners round the timings for key projects”.
A plan of work, including new airside facilities, food outlets for rejuvenation and travellers of the domestic terminal were under way.
Luxon, who couldn’t be contacted today, also told customers about extraordinary operational challenges – the largest unscheduled global maintenance problems with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines that power Air New Zealand’s 13 787 Dreamliners – had severely impacted the airline’s capability to deliver during the past year.
During the final 10 months, thousands of passengers experienced flights cancelled, rescheduled or faced flying in various planes as a result of presssing issues, that have hit airlines worldwide.
“Frustratingly, our capability to deliver this in the last year has been severely impacted and several of our customers have observed disruptions and delays, rescheduled flights, unexpected replacement aircraft and over-crowded lounges.”
The airline would meet Rolls Royce management in London in a couple weeks to “further seek personal reassurance that has been done to obtain our affected engines back service immediately”, he wrote.
He also announced the airline’s Vietnam route will be stopped next year, services to Haneda in Tokyo will be suspended and frequency to Taipei and Argentina reduced.
Another major issue that hit the airline was the September rupture of the fuel pipeline at Ruakaka, north of Auckland, which disrupted international services, Luxon wrote.
Aviation was a demanding industry and Air New Zealand had done the proper thing by cutting some services to help keep a balance between profitability, load factors, increasing fuel prices and keeping fares acceptable to customers, Clark said.
“Our aviation industry is advancing very quickly and there has been several technical problems … but what could slow it down may be the price of fuel.”