Travel Daily Asia chats with Mischa Mannix-Opie, Air New Zealand’s Country Manager for Singapore…
Q) You launched flights to Singapore earlier this year; what has the response been like from the Singaporean, and broader Southeast Asian markets?
We are seeing very positive growth from Singapore since our services commenced in January 2015. We also continue to see demand increase steadily from the broader Southeast Asian markets.
Q) In terms of the Asian region, what are Air New Zealand’s key markets, and which are showing the strongest growth rates?
Japan, China, Hong Kong and Singapore are our key markets in Asia. These are all positive growth markets where we operate. We also have strong alliance partners in these markets such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. In China a proposed alliance with Air China (subject to regulatory approval) will bring benefits to customers travelling between New Zealand and China.
Q) Are you currently looking at any other potential destinations in the Asian region, such as Bangkok, Beijing or Kuala Lumpur? Or would you consider new services to existing Asian destinations from other Kiwi hubs, like Christchurch?
We are constantly evaluating opportunities for new routes and partnerships. In Asia, our proposed alliance with Air China will see both carriers working jointly to introduce direct services with Air China operated flights between Beijing and Auckland. Subject to regulatory approvals, alliance services could commence as early as December 2015.
Q) Your new Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be deployed on the Singapore route in November; how do you expect this will impact demand for the services?
Air New Zealand’s 787-9 Dreamliner is equipped with state of the art onboard technology and in-flight product including our award-winning, innovative Economy Skycouch, as well as spacious Premium Economy and lie-flat Business Premier seating. Customer feedback on the 787-9 has been extremely positive and we expect the Dreamliner to be very well received in a travel savvy market like Singapore.
Q) You also have nine more 787s awaiting delivery; what’s the delivery schedule for these and where do expect these to be deployed?
By the end of 2018 we will have a fleet of 12 787-9 aircraft. Discussions are still underway on where the additional aircraft will be deployed.