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Palmyboy12
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Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:56 am

Hi all,

I was looking at a copy of Air New Zealand's in-flight magazine, (dated December 2003, before it was called KiaOra) and I was particularly interested in the route map. I think this was not long after NZ's old logo and slogan 'The Pride of The Pacific' was retired and they still had a fairly extensive South Pacific network. In addition to connecting services from New Zealand (mainly AKL), they also operated:

Nuku'alofa (Tongatapu) - Apia - Los Angeles
Nadi - Rarotonga - Papeete
Nadi - Los Angeles
Rarotonga - Papeete - Los Angeles

This was just a shadow of Air New Zealand's former Pacific presence.

NZ advertised six different Pacific stopovers on the way to the UK (via above routes to LAX), or a two-hour stopover at LAX for those in a hurry, as well as 'some of the roomiest cabin seats around'. I would spout something about how times have changed, but I digress.

So anyway, my main questions are:
- How often were these operated? (Seasonally, once weekly/fortnightly etc.)
- How long were these routes operated for? (I'd assume some were a throwback to TEAL flying boat days)
- What aircraft were they operated by? (I'd think their 9 767-300ERs would be perfect, though I think some 747s were used as well)
- Were they popular? (In terms not just of point-to-point routes but also as stopovers)
- Were they profitable? (Or were they subsidised like the last Pacific network routes, RAR-LAX and RAR-SYD are today? Cross-subsidised maybe?
- If so, why were they cut? (Refusal to subsidise, national pride with own airlines etc.)
- Is there any chance of them being operated again today with the 787? (Being that they seemed to operate profitably enough with the 'less efficient' 767s and 747s though I am not sure of this) Or would the above issues be too much of a barrier? (Koruman seemed to be quite a fan of a new South Pacific network, if only for prestige, and I agree)

A huge array of questions, I know, but please bear with me. Though the above 2 or 3 questions have already been answered quite well by the great people at the New Zealand Aviation Thread (the busiest Airliners.net country aviation thread per capita!), any answers are still appreciated, especially for the last few questions.

Thanks very much,
Palmyboy12
"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline." Frank Zappa
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:25 am

Many of these routes did go back to the Teal days. Many of these flights previously stopped in HNL giving connections to then LGW later FRA/LHR from AKL/NAN/RAR/PPT/APW/TBU CHC at times later SYD.

Nuku'alofa (Tongatapu) - Apia - Los Angeles 1 weekly 763, was just APW-HNL at some stage aswell IIRC

Nadi - Rarotonga - Papeete 1 weekly 763 continued to LAX at some point in the late 90s early 00s then IIRC was just NAN-RAR with a 733 A320 until it stopped around 2006/07?

Nadi - Los Angeles 3 weekly when it ended in 2008/09, they codeshared with FJ, still do? In the late 90s early 00s it was NAN-LAX-FRA with a 744 2 weekly.

Rarotonga - Papeete - Los Angeles 2 weekly I think with a 3rd AKL-PPT-LAX service.

Quoting Palmyboy12 (Thread starter):
Were they popular? (In terms not just of point-to-point routes but also as stopovers)

I'd guess they were popular back then as stopovers since NZ didn't fly non stop AKL-LAX until the mid 1980s with 742s, so a stopover in HNL would have been common for a few days.

Quoting Palmyboy12 (Thread starter):
- Is there any chance of them being operated again today with the 787? (Being that they seemed to operate profitably enough with the 'less efficient' 767s and 747s though I am not sure of this) Or would the above issues be too much of a barrier?

I don't think they will be reinstated given NZ's current direction of growing tourists to NZ from existing and new markets. They may have been profitable back then but would probably struggle now due to a wide variety of reasons like fuel prices etc?

Quoting Palmyboy12 (Thread starter):
(Koruman seemed to be quite a fan of a new South Pacific network, if only for prestige, and I agree)

If a business like an airline is operating expensive machines on marginal routes that don't meet its current strategy then I don't personally think that's smart, prestige is a thing of the past IMO in terms of what you are saying about these Pacific routes. Not to many airlines operate routes with 2-3-4 stops anymore let alone 1 stop barring NZ/OZ-UK and some 5th freedom through routes like LA SCL-AKL-SYD, EK SYD/MEL/BNE-AKL/CHC etc.
 
koruman
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:14 am

There are lots of issues here.

I first flew Air NZ across the Pacific in 1981. The DC-10 fleet did not have trans-Pacific range, and stopped either:

AKL-NAN-HNL-LAX

or

AKL-RAR-PPT-LAX

There were additional services on the 767-200 a few years later (and then the 767-300ER) which routed to LAX via TBU and APW.

It's a bit crude, but I'd say that business travellers were irked by 1 or 2 stops across the Pacific while leisure passengers (especially to/from the UK and Europe) generally liked them and took advantage of them.

The economics were changed by the arrival of the 747-200 and then the 747-400 with Trans-Pacific range. Until then, the cost of stopping and crew changes wasn't that bad because of the frequency of the stopping flights. But suddenly the airline was left with crews to accommodate and feed on the ground for 3 or 4 days.

Another significant problem - and this is going to sound snobby - was the deterioration in the general knowledge levels of Air NZ executives from the early 2000s onwards. Their predecessors were acutely aware of the differences between the "French" destinations (Noumea and Papeete), the holiday destinations (Nadi and to a much lesser extent Rarotonga then), the VFR destinations (Apia, Tonga and to a lesser extent Rarotonga) and Honolulu.

This had all changed by a decade ago, as those people were replaced by people with much less general knowledge who had done just enough personal travel of their own to crudely group the destinations togather as "the islands", in rather Australian fashion.

They were islands, therefore they were for VFR by those people who live in south Auckland and they were for low-yield leisure travellers who weren't business people. That was the quality of the analysis.

There was no appreciation that maybe those same people who travel on business the rest of the year might take their holidays in some of these places and not others. There was no appreciation for the fact that the drop-off in Honolulu traveller numbers owed more to a temporary but highly influential drop in the exchange rate rather than a loss of interest in the destination. It was quite simply amateur hour at Air NZ.

I've written before of an experience I had at Air NZ HQ about a dozen years ago - I'm pretty sure before the end of Ansett and 9/11 but I could be wrong - where I was lucky enough to be an invited guest. My host pointed to the map of the world on the wall with Air NZ's route map on it. I asked where the biggest profits were made and he pointed to the LAX-PPT sector and used the words "it's gold". His comments then matched my own experience: the airline was fortunate enough to have traffic rights on a sector where they basically carried affluent Americans to their $1000 per night overwater bungalow.

That experience and market understanding had been lost by the mid-2000s. Tahiti was one of the "islands", and could damn well take whatever Rarotonga was getting and be grateful.

There is an Air NZ internal memo from the mid-2000s. By now Papeete was only being served from LAX by a 767-300ER routed LAX-PPT-RAR-AKL, which had the right low-yield configuration for AKL-RAR and the wrong one for LAX-PPT. The memo talks of this arrangement being "to nurse Papeete back to health", with no sense of irony! Even Florence Nightingale could have done nothing with that.

I think that there are two potential markets that Air NZ should be serving.

They should resume LAX-PPT-AKL, either using the 77E or the 789, and they should do it as a joint venture with United and Air Tahiti Nui. The bilateral allowed up to 300 seats 3x weekly, and this would ensure that overnight stops in Papeete could be kept down to 2 nights per crew.

The other potentially viable market is Samoa. Until nearly 40 years ago Air NZ served Pago Pago in American Samoa because Apia didn't have a long enough runway, not that there was any significant demand between NZ and Pago Pago. Now the people of American Samoa are effectively held hostage by Hawaiian Airlines for their PPG-HNL service.

I'd consider the viability of running coordinated services as follows:

789 AKL-APW-HNL (1x weekly)
789 AKL-APW-LAX (1x weekly)
320 AKL-APW-PPG-APW (2x weekly)

The idea of the A320 with Virgin Samoa would be to actually get significant volumes of American Samoan traffic to Honolulu and Los Angeles onto those flights, to lift both the yields and the volumes.
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:26 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 3):






The other potentially viable market is Samoa. Until nearly 40 years ago Air NZ served Pago Pago in American Samoa because Apia didn't have a long enough runway, not that there was any significant demand between NZ and Pago Pago. Now the people of American Samoa are effectively held hostage by Hawaiian Airlines for their PPG-HNL service.

I'd consider the viability of running coordinated services as follows:

789 AKL-APW-HNL (1x weekly)
789 AKL-APW-LAX (1x weekly)
320 AKL-APW-PPG-APW (2x weekly)

The idea of the A320 with Virgin Samoa would be to actually get significant volumes of American Samoan traffic to Honolulu and Los Angeles onto those flights, to lift both the yields and the volumes.

Whereupon NZ/Virgin would be fined a substantial sum by the US Government for each and every passenger carried from American Samoa to the US in breach of cabotage rules.... ask Asiana about the fines they got for flying pax from Guam through Korea to the US a couple of years ago... each fine was substantially in excess of any revenue received from the fares the pax paid.
 
koruman
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:14 am

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 3):
Whereupon NZ/Virgin would be fined a substantial sum by the US Government for each and every passenger carried from American Samoa to the US in breach of cabotage rules.... ask Asiana about the fines they got for flying pax from Guam through Korea to the US a couple of years ago... each fine was substantially in excess of any revenue received from the fares the pax paid.

Then scrub that idea.

I thought that the fact that American Samoa was an unicorporated territory made a partial difference: if it doesn't, then just scrub it.
 
777ER
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:17 am

IMHO the perfect aircraft to re-launch many of those routes would the a B737-700ER or B739ER. The current fleet (and on order) is simply too big to offer a real service, but a sub-fleet or B73G-ER or B739ER (or even an Airbus A319/20/21 ER option if they decide to offer) would enable a 1-2 + weekly return service via the Islands to LAX with an NZ regional J class (B763 style)/Y+ style and Y
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Motorhussy
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Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2000 7:49 am

RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:44 am

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 4):

Quoting koruman (Reply 3):

The other potentially viable market is Samoa. Until nearly 40 years ago Air NZ served Pago Pago in American Samoa because Apia didn't have a long enough runway, not that there was any significant demand between NZ and Pago Pago. Now the people of American Samoa are effectively held hostage by Hawaiian Airlines for their PPG-HNL service.

I'd consider the viability of running coordinated services as follows:

789 AKL-APW-HNL (1x weekly)
789 AKL-APW-LAX (1x weekly)
320 AKL-APW-PPG-APW (2x weekly)

The idea of the A320 with Virgin Samoa would be to actually get significant volumes of American Samoan traffic to Honolulu and Los Angeles onto those flights, to lift both the yields and the volumes.

Whereupon NZ/Virgin would be fined a substantial sum by the US Government for each and every passenger carried from American Samoa to the US in breach of cabotage rules.... a

Well actually, Gov Lolo Matalasi Moliga of Am. Sam. is currently lobbying Congress (via Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin) to allow some exceptions to the cabotage rules as Am. Sam. is not being adequately served by American carriers to Hawai'i and mainland USA currently.

http://www.samoanews.com/?q=node/74186
come visit the south pacific
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:54 am

1)An important factor is that the countries themselves have withdrawn the subsidies required to keep a profitable business interested in the Pacific. When Samoa withdrew the subsidies then Tonga could not afford to maintain AKL-TBU-LAX alone so they had to withdraw theirs as well.

2) The pacific is not a gold mine in the currently economic climate. Much of the world to an extent lost interest in the South Pacific through a mixture of personal economics (too expensive to fly vs the time taken to get there vs the new green mentality of measuting personal carbon footprints), Political instability in South Pacific (An important reason RAR overtook NAN for leisure travellers), Papeete (Tahiti) has bombed with hotel closures and their refusal to adapt the the world as it is, not how it was in their heyday and their continued support of the failure that is TN. As TN failed, Tahiti failed demand waned and Tahiti became less and less important to NZ so they set up an agreement with TN.
There was a time when Tahiti had several huge stands at the travel expos, now it's an apologetic corner with little in the way of options (without spending big big money).

3) Air New Zealand making money and finally being run like a business instead of a charitable mission set up to run Foreign Affairs initiatives. They got rid of surplus metal which was costing them more to maintain and operate than they could hope to gain from the routes they flew, while they corrected themslves and that meant losing 3 763s and the 762s were retired. that had been used previously,

4) The demand for these routes dropped enough that the layovers for crew for far too long and costing too much for the profit generated. Layover costs for crew was a major factor in stopping AKL-RAR-PPT-LAX. When you are talking the kinds of prices Tahiti charges for crew hotels that adds up rapidly and burns profit margins to nothing. Once the cycle of supply and demand is broken there's not a quick easy fix except to slash prices, and that is not good for a once a week flight with high running costs.

Quoting ZK-NBT (Reply 1):
If a business like an airline is operating expensive machines on marginal routes that don't meet its current strategy then I don't personally think that's smart, prestige is a thing of the past IMO

That sums up the aviation market right now be it US midwest regionals or ULH SIN-EWR flights. If a market can't support itself economically then it is time to pull out, and the South Pacific can't support itself anymore. The only island still paying a subsidy for routing/cargo space still has a service, and the reason they still have NZL traffic is because they are on the NZD and issue NZD passports so it is effectively a "domestic" holiday in the sun.
Flown to 147 Airports in 62 Countries on 83 Operators and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
DavidByrne
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:41 pm

Christopher Luxon's recent statement that there would be no more one-stop services effectively means that any dreams of a Pacific network reappearing are just pie-in-the-sky. And of course, if it were not for the Cook Islands Government guarantee, the AKL-RAR-LAX service would be no more.

Alas. But in the competitive environment NZ is operating in, where almost all carriers are heading in that direction, it's hard to see things changing.
This is not my beautiful house . . . This is not my beautiful wife
 
Motorhussy
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Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2000 7:49 am

RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:09 pm

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 7):
1)An important factor is that the countries themselves have withdrawn the subsidies required to keep a profitable business interested in the Pacific. When Samoa withdrew the subsidies then Tonga could not afford to maintain AKL-TBU-LAX alone so they had to withdraw theirs as well.

IIRC correctly, it was the Govt. of Tonga that withdrew the subsidies and Samoa did not feel the economic benefit from the LAX link merited going it alone. Can't find any confirmation though (via Google search).
come visit the south pacific
 
Viscount724
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:58 pm

Quoting koruman (Reply 2):
I first flew Air NZ across the Pacific in 1981. The DC-10 fleet did not have trans-Pacific range, and stopped either:

AKL-NAN-HNL-LAX

or

AKL-RAR-PPT-LAX

There were additional services on the 767-200 a few years later (and then the 767-300ER) which routed to LAX via TBU and APW.

NZ also operated the DC-10 AKL-PPT-DFW-LGW once or twice a week from October 1987 until March 1989 when they dropped DFW. I think the westbound flight made an additional stop at LAX.

Detailed NZ history timeline here (through early 2006).
http://static.airnewzealand.com/assets/PDFs/history.pdf
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:05 am

^Sorry, but I have to disagree. The only NZ DC-10 service to London was with wet-leased frames operated by National and BA. NZ's own services to LGW and later LHR were operated by 742 and 744 up until the 777 took over. The DC-10 was long gone from the fleet by 87.

[Edited 2014-01-26 16:08:11]
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:08 am

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 11):
^Sorry, but I have to disagree. The only NZ DC-10 service to London was with wet-leased frames operated by National and BA. NZ's own services to LGW and later LHR were operated by 742 and 744 up until the 777 took over.


Sorry, I just assumed it was the DC-10. I guess it was the 742.

[Edited 2014-01-26 16:16:05]
 
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eta unknown
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:56 am

FYI DC10's did operate AKL-HNL-LAX.

The LAX-Pacific-AKL route network changed all the time. At one time LAX-HNL-RAR-AKL operated with a 742.
 
Motorhussy
Posts: 3673
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:06 pm

Quoting koruman (Reply 2):
AKL-NAN-HNL-LAX

or

AKL-RAR-PPT-LAX

As they were DC10-30's, they did have the range to fly AKL-HNL and PPT-LAX which they did. NZ's Pacific options with the DC10 included...

AKL-HNL-LAX
AKL-NAN-LAX
AKL-PPT-LAX

and

AKL-NAN-HNL-LAX
AKL-RAR-PPT-LAX
AKL-RAR-HNL-LAX

There may have been a few occasional ones I've missed but I did fly on all the above legs during that period.
come visit the south pacific
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:18 pm

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 11):
The DC-10 was long gone from the fleet by 87.

The seven remaining DC-10 were either sold or leased out in 1981/82.

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 11):
The only NZ DC-10 service to London was with wet-leased frame operated by National

This one was only during summer 1979.
 
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deltacto
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:49 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 10):
NZ also operated the DC-10 AKL-PPT-DFW-LGW once or twice a week from October 1987 until March 1989 when they dropped DFW. I think the westbound flight made an additional stop at LAX.
http://www.airnewzealand.com/assets/PDFs/history.pdf

Inaugural Auckland-Dallas/Forth Worth service calls enroute at Papeete
and terminates in London. The return southbound service stops at Los
Angeles and Papeete southbound.


I remember seeing NZ 747's occaisonally when I lived near DFW back then.
As I recall the flight operated on Sunday nights.

I've always wondered what was the point of routing through DFW.
Passengers could travel from AKL/PPT to DFW but not back to AKL/PPT.
This was long before codeshares and alliances.
 
DavidByrne
Posts: 1684
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:42 pm

RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:03 am

Quoting deltacto (Reply 16):
Inaugural Auckland-Dallas/Forth Worth service calls enroute at Papeete
and terminates in London. The return southbound service stops at Los
Angeles and Papeete southbound.

I remember seeing NZ 747's occaisonally when I lived near DFW back then.
As I recall the flight operated on Sunday nights.

I've always wondered what was the point of routing through DFW.
Passengers could travel from AKL/PPT to DFW but not back to AKL/PPT.
This was long before codeshares and alliances.

This is not at all my recollection from the time: I distinctly recall that the service operated in both directions, first via PPT en route from DFW to AKL, and later via HNL. There were other services AKL-PPT-LAX-LON operating as well, and I suspect that the NZ hiostory is somehow a bit confused (or maybe the return service via DFW was on a different rotation from the outbound service).
This is not my beautiful house . . . This is not my beautiful wife
 
Aeri28
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:46 am

I have not read all that so have no idea if it was mentioned (sorry), but I flew LAX to Nadi Fiji in 1997 on a 747-200, and it stopped in Honolulu. I remember it was the old logo going and the then newer logo coming back. Particulary of fun was that the Auckland Girls School choir was on board (boarding in AKL) going to a music festival in Honolulu. I kept thinking if we go down, we can at least be serenaded.

My friend flew LAX- Rarotonga with a stop in Honolulu, on a 747-200 in 98'ish.

I missed the 'new' nonstop LAX to Fiji on a 744 back in the early 2000s as I went to Papeete instead (via Air France).
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
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RE: Air New Zealand's Pacific Network?

Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:56 am

Quoting DavidByrne (Reply 17):
Quoting deltacto (Reply 16):
Inaugural Auckland-Dallas/Forth Worth service calls enroute at Papeete
and terminates in London. The return southbound service stops at Los
Angeles and Papeete southbound.

I remember seeing NZ 747's occaisonally when I lived near DFW back then.
As I recall the flight operated on Sunday nights.

I've always wondered what was the point of routing through DFW.
Passengers could travel from AKL/PPT to DFW but not back to AKL/PPT.
This was long before codeshares and alliances.

This is not at all my recollection from the time: I distinctly recall that the service operated in both directions, first via PPT en route from DFW to AKL, and later via HNL. There were other services AKL-PPT-LAX-LON operating as well, and I suspect that the NZ hiostory is somehow a bit confused (or maybe the return service via DFW was on a different rotation from the outbound service).

I think the wording in the NZ history means that in addition to the DFW stop on the return service, the flight ALSO stopped at LAX. Would make no sense to stop at DFW in one direction only.

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