Air NZ gets some wind under its wings, signs partnership with Govt to be part of $330m cargo scheme

Air New Zealand has received a significant boost to its workload after agreeing to a partnership with the Government to ensure cargo transport can continue internationally.

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It comes as lockdown has caused a 95 per cent decrease in the airline’s overall capacity. Source: 1 NEWS

The New Zealand airline said it is part of the International Airfreight Capacity agreement with the Ministry of Transport, which will allow exporters and importers the ability to access markets globally despite air freight capacity being reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Air New Zealand general manager for cargo Rick Nelson says cargo customers will be able to access capacity across the airline’s traditional network, with a handful of exceptions.

“We are working to offer connectivity to and from the United Kingdom and Europe, as well as Houston and Chicago via Los Angeles and San Francisco, Hong Kong and Narita gateways,” Mr Nelson said.

“This agreement will add significant value to New Zealand’s air cargo community, and we encourage the New Zealand forwarding, export and import communities to get behind these cargo options.

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The national carrier continues to struggle as travel numbers have turned into a trickle. Source: 1 NEWS

“Naturally, we hope the need to operate under an agreement of this nature will be a short-term business model and in time we’ll be able to revert to our traditional model as demand for passenger travel begins to pick up.”

Ports the airline will not operate cargo flights to under the agreement are London and Buenos Aires. Singapore is also not included in the initial phase.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the $330 million scheme also ensures there are essential imports such as medical supplies.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we moved quickly to support charter flights to ensure New Zealand had the crucial supplies it needs and to back our exporters. However, these flights only allowed businesses to export to a limited number of markets,” Mr Twyford said.

“This scheme builds on that support, with a schedule of weekly flights to a greater number of global markets. This new schedule restores more export markets to more businesses and with greater frequency.

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The airline’s looking to cut up to 3,500 jobs after suffering a drastic cut in demand due to the pandemic. Source: 1 NEWS

“There is a huge demand for air freight, at a time when capacity is limited. This scheme helps provide certainty for business, while airlines and carriers respond to a changing world.”

Other airlines involved in the scheme are China Airlines, Emirates, Freightways Express, Qantas and Tasman Cargo but others are expect to be announced.