Friday April 18, 2014

Air NZ Improves LAX transit, increases North American capacity

An Air NZ 777 at LAX. (Rob Finlayson)

Air New Zealand passengers can look forward to a much-improved transit process at Los Angeles (LAX) after a successful trial led the US customs service approved a new transit system for Air New Zealand passengers arriving from Auckland or from London.

On completion of US visa requirements, transiting passengers now receive a token which allows them access to the general terminal area including Air New Zealand’s Los Angeles International Lounge without the need to clear security.

Air New Zealand’s deputy CEO Norm Thompson said the new transit process makes a significant difference to the overall passenger experience for those travelling to London via Los Angeles.

“This is great news for our customers.  They now have the freedom to move around during their transit instead of being confined to the transit lounge while waiting for their onward flight,” added Thompson.

The airline is continuing to work with airport authorities in Los Angeles to further improve the current facilitation process.

Air New Zealand relocates from Terminal 2 to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX mid-next year.

In further improvements to its LAX services, Air New Zealand will move to 16 return flight a week on the Auckland-Los Angeles route during the peak northern winter season between mid-December and the end of January, including three flights on Thursdays and Sundays and double-daily services every other day of the week. Together these adjustments represent an 8.7 per cent increase in capacity.

The airline is also making improvements to its Auckland-San Francisco services.  Two new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will join the fleet in July and October 2014 and are planned to replace the two Boeing 747-400 aircraft currently operating the daily service.

Capacity is also being increased on the Auckland-Vancouver route with an increase from three return services per week to six over the peak December-January period.

These schedule changes will see a total increase in capacity to North America of 9.3 per cent over the northern winter period.

“As the prime carrier operating between New Zealand and North America and we are committed to offering our passengers affordable and convenient air travel with greater connectivity,” Thompson said, noting the number of inbound visitors from the US “is showing a positive return to growth”.