Remember the days of glamorous air travel when a passenger could fly around the world with one airline?
Air New Zealand (ANZ) is giving passengers another chance to experience a true around the world journey. ANZ today became the first scheduled passenger carrier to operate an around the world service since 2001, when United Airlines dropped the India portions of its Washington-London-Delhi-Hong Kong-Los Angeles-Washington service.
Many thought an around the world service would never be offered again by a single airline because in this era of global alliances it is nearly impossible to make a solid business case for sending your aircraft around the world. But as chief executive Ron Fyfe likes to point out, ANZ is not your average carrier or even your average Star Alliance member because its hub has such an isolated location.
"We like to see us as the centre of the world but we're at the start or end of long skinny routes," Fyfe said while in London just ahead of the launch of ANZ's new daily Boeing 747 Heathrow-Hong Kong service.
ANZ already was operating between Heathrow and Auckland daily via Los Angeles but until today its Auckland-Hong Kong service terminated in Hong Kong. ANZ is retaining the Auckland-Los Angeles-London flight although it is being downgauged from a 747 to Boeing 777-200ER.
Flyfe says demand between London and New Zealand is sufficient to support two daily services and Kiwis want the option of flying east or west when travelling to London.
By having two London services operating in opposite directions, ANZ is also able to offer passengers in the UK, New Zealand, USA and Hong Kong an opportunity to travel around the world. Passengers from London can buy an economy ticket that includes stops in Auckland, Hong Kong and Los Angeles for ｣801 ($1521) including taxes. Not a bad deal considering return tickets to only Hong Kong and Los Angeles typically sell for more than that. Premium economy around the world fares start at ｣1402 and business class seats are being sold from ｣2796 including taxes.
All the global alliances including Star now offer around the world tickets. But Fyfe thinks having its own service is an advantage. He says Star's around the world tickets are generally not promoted because airlines are only interested in advertising their own fares rather than alliance fares. Fyfe says it is also difficult for Star members to figure out how to fairly distribute the revenues from these tickets.
"We're the only airline in the world that offers a genuine around the world service," says a proud Fyfe, adding the captain of today's London-Hong Kong launch flight flew into Heathrow via Los Angeles and will be the first ANZ pilot to circumnavigate the globe.