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By Jeffrey Ng
Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR.NZ) said Monday it is halting non-stop flights from Hong Kong to London from March 4 next year amid continued losses on the competitive route, a move that will result in the elimination of around 70 London-based flight attendant positions.
The decision to cancel the Hong Kong-London service was made because the airline doesn't expect the route to turn profitable in the foreseeable future, said Air New Zealand Rob Fyfe in a statement.
New Zealand's flag carrier had been operating the service since 2006 as a continuation of its flight from Auckland to Hong Kong. No commercial aircraft could operate profitably between the U.K. and New Zealand because of the long distance.
Separately, Air New Zealand said it has formed a strategic alliance with Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (0293.HK) on the Auckland-Hong Kong route that will allow both airlines to jointly operate with a codeshare partnership.
Air New Zealand's decision to cancel the Hong Kong-London service follows a similar decision by Qantas Airways Ltd. to axe that route in March this year due to keen competition. The long-haul route is currently served by eight daily flights by four airlines, including Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
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