Air New Zealand Averaged Under Two Passengers Per Flight Yesterday

Filed Under: Air New Zealand

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.

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%.

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.

  1. Meanwhile New Zealand is in lockdown for international travel however the government is promising to allow those from overseas to return home in the next week or so once repatriation flights can be arranged.

    There is though a catch to these flights, they can only be operated be Air New Zealand. How’s that for protecting your own although none of the passengers will be New Zealanders and nor of the governments funding them will be either.

  2. In a recent newsletter, Air New Zealand said it thinks the company will be 30% smaller in a year’s time.

  3. I wouldn’t actually fly right now, but would be a cool/ aviation geek thing to be the only passenger on a plane.

  4. The NZ Government has restricted flying during the lock down period to essential workers travelling for business so you wouldn’t be able to fly unless you can prove this.

  5. So ……. if they paid for an economy seat …… were they allowed to sit up-front without receiving any of those perqs other than a more comfy seat ??

  6. They’ll be OK in the long run. The NZ Government are the majority shareholder of Air New Zealand. They’ve offered the $900m if they need it and they’ll get as much as they need to stay afloat and start up operations again once the NZ domestic lockdown is over and international flights start back up again.

  7. @phil
    Actually there are still commercial flight option available, if you can afford a flight ticket.

    Qatar is going twice daily on the Auckland – Doha route for a period of like 2 weeks so foreigners can transit in Doha to fly home, still 10 days to go on that.

    And didn’t Lufthansa has a repatriation flight from Auckland just a couple of days ago?

  8. Pretty devastating to see what’s happening to Air NZ which is a much loved airline in New Zealand. They got a $900m convertible loan from the NZ government at 7% interest. If Air NZ can’t pay it back the loan gets converted to equity, effectively diluting existing shareholder equity. Revenue has dropped from $6.5b to $500m. Pretty grim.

    You’d be a brave person to buy NZ shares at the moment. NZers are predicting a long close down of our borders for the next 12-18 months. I pity the new CEO, Greg Foran, who has been in the job for just 7 weeks and previously was CEO of Walmart. I guess he took the job on as retirement gig, to return home. Now having to cut 3700 jobs in the airline. Wonder if he will be up for trying to revive the airline’s fortunes going forward. He is certainly capable and very personable.

  9. @Phil

    There are still commercial flight available out of New Zealand. Qatar is going twice daily on their Auckland – Doha route and you can just about transit anywhere through Qatar, except most other countries in the Middle East. But tickets will be expensive and there are only like 10 days to go until Qatar pull their services.

    Meanwhile didnt a Lufthansa repatriation flight took off from Auckland just a few days ago?

  10. As a New Zealander based in Los Angeles, I am very happy my government bailed out the airline to support cargo and repatriation flights for citizens and residents (same-sex defacto partners included). The real Kudos goes to the flight crews working these flights putting their own lives at risk every time. Stories from friends who are aircrew about sick passengers refusing to wear masks, pilots taking the last sanitizer so the crew has nothing are endless. So, I don’t care what cabin I sit in but I am just thankful to my country and friends who are keeping these flights operating so that New Zealand stays connected to the rest of the world.

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