Air NZ flights to Europe remain suspended

15:42, April 19, 2010      

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Air New Zealand said on Monday that it will not resume flights to Europe until at least Tuesday morning, as ash from a volcano in Iceland continued to disrupt flights.

The latest message to passengers on the airline's website, updated Monday morning New Zealand time, said airspace restrictions across Britain will remain until at least 06:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

Radio New Zealand reported that two Air New Zealand flights to Europe due to depart on Monday evening New Zealand time will terminate in Los Angeles and Hong Kong respectively.

Flight NZ1 from London to Los Angeles and Auckland, due to depart Monday afternoon GMT remains on schedule, but is dependent on the airspace restrictions being lifted.

Passengers may defer their travel to another Air New Zealand flight without penalty and those who no longer wish to travel can apply for a full refund, the airline says.

Some Air New Zealand passengers bound for Europe were told at the weekend they would be unable to fly for at least two and a half weeks.

On Sunday night, 150 passengers cancelled their place on Air New Zealand flight NZ2 to London via Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand acknowledged that the financial impact on the airline will be relatively small because it operates just 12 flights a week to London via Los Angeles and Hong Kong, compared to 145 flights a week to Australia.

However, Air New Zealand pays 70,000 NZ dollars (49,000 U.S. dollars) a day to accommodate 700 stranded passengers in Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

Worldwide, airlines are estimated to be losing some 200 million U.S. dollars a day. Shares in Air New Zealand fell 4 cents, or 2.8 percent, on Monday morning, to stand at 1.37 NZ dollars at midday.

Source: Xinhua


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