Unless something major has changed (Brexit perhaps?) I think this is a mistake. Excited for NY (and EWR would be a solid bet) but don’t think it should be at the expense of LHR.
3 main reasons to retain LHR:
1) It is (or certainly has been) one of NZs most profitable routes.
2) Provides a certain level of diversity regarding destinations (not putting all the eggs in the US basket).
3) Brand recognition/presence - LHR does have a certain level of prestige to it, it gives NZ that presence in the UK/EU, it does have that B-list celebrity use, and even as a fly the flag exercise does give New Zealand in general a boost in the UK.
With this decision, I’m pretty certain we can farewell any chance of 77X/A350 (unless they’re secretly planning LHR direct). LAX no longer would need 2x 77W daily sized planes as the LHR through pax won’t be on it and neither will NY pax so 2x daily 78J will do the job. I’d also bet money (provided no recession) that another US/Canada destination will be on the cards as a result (SEA/YYZ/DEN).
Some thoughts on these reasons
1) Is it though? When HKG-LHR was axed by Luxon LAX-LHR held on by a thread based solely on NZ making LAX-LHR work on its own. Essentially NZ1 and 2 have been sold as 2 routes, AKLLAX vv and LAXLHR vv. The bottom line is, It's cheaper for NZ to place European passengers on an interline carrier.
Can NZ sustain LAX-LHR with a competitive edge and how long will that be worth their while or is NZ better placing the 77W elsewhere and freeing up a 789's for NYC.
My thought is, LAX-LHR has been sustainable with effort but that effort is better deployed elsewhere and NZ will continue to feed Europe with its various partners.
2) This is normally a very valid point, however, Europe has been more volatile around global events largely due to its geographical distance from NZ. But also if the USA fails so will NZ1/2 as that LAXLHR leg has been surviving based on the USA market. Therefore, any risk is voided isn't it?
3) Can you directly attribute that to money and write off any negatives with it?
I'd agree that the 77X/A350 are out of the question. It's very clear NZ is continuing with frequency and direct city pairing. We'll see a gradual increase into IAH, ORD, NYC, SFO, YVR to daily and LAX may well remain double daily.. this would work nicely with a 787 fleet.
Looks very tidy if any market shifts too, wouldn't be too hard to move equipment into other regions or even change the config for a few years if needed.