Obviously flights have gone from being consistently full to being consistently empty in the past several weeks. That’s not surprising at all. However, every once in a while I see a statistic that makes my jaw drop, even though it really shouldn’t.
Air New Zealand’s Chief Revenue Officer, Cam Wallace, has been sharing some fascinating statistics about Air New Zealand’s operations on his Twitter account.
For example, on Thursday Air New Zealand operated a total of 89 scheduled flights, and they carried a total of 165 passengers. So that’s an average of just 1.85 passengers per flight. He also notes that 20 flights operated with a single passenger.
Some stark stats that underpin why changing our @FlyAirNZ schedule was imperative. Thurs- we had 89 scheduled flights, we carried 165 pax. Averages suggest distancing at 10 metres wasn’t an issue. I think usually say these number are commercially sensitive, not now! @andykirton
— Cam Wallace (@CamWallace_NZ) April 2, 2020
Air New Zealand continues to operate many of their domestic flights to transport essential workers, and also to transport cargo. That’s why many routes continue to be operated by jets — turboprops could easily carry the few passengers who need to fly, but they don’t have the cargo capacity that’s needed.
Air New Zealand is significantly reducing domestic capacity as of today (April 3), flying only to Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, and Wellington, with just one or two return services per day. This represents a 95% reduction in capacity (compared to previous levels), as demand is down about 99%.
Our @FlyAirNZ revised domestic schedule is out. We will be flying to AKL, WLG, CHC, NSN and DUD only. One or two return services a day, eff 3 Apr. This represents a 95% reduction pre – C19. Demand is down about 99%. @andykirton
— Cam Wallace (@CamWallace_NZ) April 1, 2020
Air New Zealand isn’t alone in having these kinds of flight loads, as airlines around the globe are facing similar issues. Even in the US we’re seeing many flights operated with anywhere from zero to a few passengers.