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Air New Zealand to restart Hobart service in October

written by Adam Thorn | April 20, 2024

Craig Murray shot this Air New Zealand A320neo, ZK-NHB.

Air New Zealand will recommence flights between Auckland and Hobart in October after they were paused from this month due to engine maintenance issues.

The three-times-weekly route will operate between October and March in the summer months — the same schedule that will be applied to another restarted service to Seoul.

It comes after Australian Aviation reported in November that the Tasmanian service would be temporarily cancelled due to changes in the maintenance plan for Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engines used on its A320neo and A321neos.

The problems involved a “rare condition” on the powder metal used for certain parts that were thought to affect up to 700 GTF engines over the next three years.

“While this maintenance issue does not present a safety issue, it has caused Air New Zealand to revise its flight schedule as a result of adjustments made to the engine maintenance plan,” Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said last year.

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Despite the good news, Air New Zealand also revealed it would extend a pause on flights to Chicago due to a separate issue affecting the availability of serviceable Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines powering its 787-9s.

The carrier’s engineers found that the engines, which normally require heavy maintenance after 1,000 take-off and landing cycles, in fact need maintenance after only 750–850 cycles.

Rolls-Royce has been unable to provide the airline with sufficient spare or replacement engines, necessitating a reduction in services.

“Unfortunately, ongoing challenges with the availability of Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines on our 787-9 aircraft means we haven’t been able to return to our Chicago route in October as expected,” said Air New Zealand’s general manager of long haul, Scott Carr.

“We anticipate returning to Chicago when we receive our new 787 aircraft from Boeing, currently expected in the second half of 2025.

“Over the next few days, our teams will be in touch directly with customers who have bookings on our Chicago route from October to share their options, so they do not need to contact us proactively. Those who booked via a travel agent should contact their agent to confirm changes to their itinerary.”

To combat its fleet issues, Air New Zealand said in February it had procured two additional dry-leased B777-300ERs and was finalising the lease of a third that would arrive later this year.

The wider 777 fleet will be used to expand capacity on key Asian routes, with seat numbers in Singapore, Tokyo, and Taipei all increasing between November 2024 and March 2025.

“The 777-300 aircraft also has a 30 per cent higher cargo capability than the 787 aircraft they replace, which will provide a welcome boost for exporters to these markets and beyond,” said the business.

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