Cathay Pacific will operate Air New Zealand’s Hong Kong-Auckland services through to the end of March as the latter continues to deal with capacity issues due to ongoing Boeing 787-9 engine issues.

In addition to its own services to New Zealand, the Hong Kong-based carrier will operate daily a 280-seat Airbus A350-900 on the Auckland-Hong Kong route on behalf of Air New Zealand from 6-19 January. In February and March, it will operate a 294-seat Boeing 777-300ER on the route, daily in February and five times a week in March.

Air New Zealand 787-9

Source: Air New Zealand

An Air New Zealand 787-9

Air New Zealand will fly the route between 20 January and 31 January.

“This aircraft capacity will help fill gaps in our schedule to get people to their destinations in the coming weeks and it’s been beneficial to have our alliance partner Cathay Pacific step in and assist us at this busy time,” says Doug Grant, Air New Zealand senior manager for customer care and communications.

The two carriers have had an alliance on flights between Hong Kong and New Zealand since 2013, which sees them operate 25 return services per week during peak months, including services between Hong Kong and Christchurch, as well as Auckland. The alliance was recently extended for a further five years to 2024.

The move comes as Air New Zealand continues to grapple with capacity issues as a result of ongoing problems with some Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on its 787-9s. The engines require more frequent maintenance due to an issue with the high-pressure turbine blades, with no replacement engines available and a lengthy wait for repair services.

The problem has already resulted in changes to the airline’s international summer schedule, including the suspension of the airline’s twice-weekly seasonal Christchurch-Perth service; the cancellation of its second daily Auckland-Perth service between 10 December and 5 January; and the cancellation of some services between Auckland and Sydney in December and January.