I recently did a lot of flights (international and domestic) with Air New Zealand (see recently filed trip report LHR-HKG-SIN-AKL-RAR-LAX-SFO-LHR) and had a very good discussion with an Aussie FA on the RAR-LAX sector.
Back home I did some checking and comfirmed that Air New Zealand has 5th freedom rights though Hong Kong (excellant airport) but does not use them. The FA said it was thought that Air NZ was thinking about doing round the world (AKL-LAX-LHR-HKG-AKL and reverse) but because of the Ansett woes nothing happened.
Given that Mr Norris has publicly stated that the Air NZ international routes are under review and might change I have a couple of comments:
1. Given that no Star Alliance member flys a LHR-HKG sector (I think I' right in saying this) surely this could be a profitable sector of Air NZ to fly (feeds from all other Star Alliance members, competing with airlines with higher operational costs BA, VS, CX(?))
2. I realise that with just 8 744s Air NZ couldn't physically schedule the route and keep other interational route commitment going so:
How many 744's would be required to do this round the world route ? I've done some scribblings and think 6 aircraft would cover it (but I'm not sure what you do when it comes to engineering checks) - (also I'm not being baised against Airbus - just thinking about redeployment of exisitng resources - of course if Air NZ had the cash (which I don't think it has) to buy a fleet of A346/A380.......)
Which international routes could be for the chop ? From my experience LHR and LAX would seem safe (just from the loads I've seen). I thought flights to Japan were supposed to also have high loads - so whats left with 744 utilisation ?
Over to the forum knowledge and experience.......