On an average day, Air New Zealand would normally carry around 48,000 passengers across its domestic network. But as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic reshapes our entire lives, yesterday was anything but average – just 670 passengers travelled on Air New Zealand’s limited domestic services on Saturday. A mere 1.4 per cent of passengers the airline would normally carry.
New Zealand reacted quickly to the emergence of the Coronavirus in the country, enforcing an international travel ban without hesitation and banning foreigners from crossing its borders. And now a Level 4 Alert means air travel is limited only to so-called ‘essential workers’.
Not that Air New Zealand is complaining about the “dire” passenger numbers. Cam Wallace, the airline’s chief revenue officer said the numbers actually “reflect favourably and show that kiwis are respecting the essential travel advice.”
Wallace says Air New Zealand has worked to enforce social distancing on its flights by blocking out seats although that’s no longer an issue as the passenger loads are so low. The airline will now only operate a minimum schedule with services consolidated but Wallace Tweeted to say that passengers would still be “low, really, really low”.
Earlier this month, Air New Zealand decided to close down its London cabin crew base six months earlier than originally planned because of the slump in demand for international air travel prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The airline had flown between London and Los Angeles since 1982 but the iconic route has now been scrapped forever.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.