Air New Zealand has announced plans to suspend specific international routes due to ongoing engine issues impacting its operation.
Adjustments To International Routes
Air New Zealand has announced it’ll pull the plug on service towards Hobart, Tasmania, from April 5, 2024.
Away from service to Hobart, the airline will also suspend service towards Seoul in South Korea.
These changes in its international routes are a forced reaction to the ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine crisis.
Air New Zealand Aircraft Facing Problems
The New Zealand flag carrier had previously announced its intent to slash its upcoming flight schedule as it faced aircraft issues.
Such issues were further identified in July 2023. A period when Pratt & Whitney, the engine manufacturer, said that a condition was impacting their engines.
The Geared Turbofan engine was slated to be impacted, which has been applied to aircraft worldwide.
Pratt & Whitney cited that 700 engines globally would be impacted across the next few years, with adverse effects on airlines’ fleet.
The uncertainty surrounding when inspections would occur has meant responding to this crisis has proven tricky for airlines.
Air New Zealand has 17 A320/A321neo in its fleet of 108 aircraft, per a statement from the carrier. These new engine options are used to fly missions, including New Zealand, Australia and Pacific Islands operations.
Comments From Executive
We’ve been able to reorganise most of our schedule by consolidating some flying and moving aircraft to different routes. Most customers whose flights have been changed will still fly on the same day, some on international flights will be reaccommodated to services a day either side of their original booking and some may have a cabin change due to a different aircraft being used.
Air New Zealand has 17 A320/321NEO aircraft in its fleet of 108 aircraft, serving Australia, the Pacific Islands and domestic New Zealand. While this maintenance issue does not present a safety issue, it has caused Air New Zealand to revise its flight schedule as a result of adjustments made to the engine maintenance plan.Air New Zealand chief executive officer, Greg Foran
Why Are Routes Being Cut?
Air New Zealand says that service towards Hobart and Soeul is being suspended to allow more resiliency. This will be noticeable when the Trent 1000 engines equipped on the 787 fleet go for maintenance.
The airline also flags the availability of spare engines from Rolls Royce to cover these maintenance periods as another potential cause for concern.
Air New Zealand says that the two routes weren’t cut for negative operational performance, highlighting that they have been successful.
The priority at the airline is to ensure that their entire service is reliable and robust as they navigate issues.
Air New Zealand plans for up to four aircraft from the A320neo family powered by the GTF engines to be grounded at any point. A process that’ll continue for a couple of years.