Air New Zealand is cancelling dozens of international flights in and out of Australia due to ongoing problems affecting Boeing Dreamliner engines globally.
On Monday the airline said it would suspend its twice-weekly seasonal Christchurch-Perth service, resulting in the cancellation of 62 flights.
It would also cancel its second daily Auckland-Perth service from December 10 until January 5, 2020, the airline said in a statement sent to media. Auckland-Sydney services and Auckland-Tonga services have also been cancelled.
Since late 2017 Air New Zealand and other international airlines flying Dreamliners have been plagued by issues affecting Rolls-Royce engines fitted to the modern aircraft.
A number of Air New Zealand flights to and from Sydney have been cut in December and January.Credit:AAP
Air New Zealand said it had 10 Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines fitted to its 787-9 fleet.
The airline said Rolls-Royce required operators of its Trent 1000 TEN engines to carry out more frequent maintenance due to an issue with the engine's high-pressure turbine blades.
"Rolls-Royce does not have any replacement engines available while maintenance work is undertaken and has advised Air New Zealand there's significant wait for repair services," the statement said.
Air New Zealand spokesman Doug Grant said about 14,000 customers will be impacted by cancellations.
"Going into the holiday season we're acutely aware how important travel is to our customers, and our schedule changes are designed to keep cancellations to a minimum," Grant said.
The airline would start processing changes to customers' bookings this week and then directly contact customers affected by these changes with new travel information.
Grant said while the airline never expected to still be facing issues with its Rolls-Royce engines, it was well placed to operate with the least impact to customers.
Air New Zealand senior fleet manager Dave Wilson said the airline had been performing regular precautionary checks on its Trent 1000 TEN engines since April and had been doing all it could to fast-track required maintenance from Rolls-Royce.
The problem engines are made by Rolls-Royce.
"Based on the maintenance needs of our engines, we expect some will need to be inspected in December and January and then serviced by Rolls-Royce offshore and unfortunately Rolls-Royce has no capacity to alleviate this pressure.
Air New Zealand had 14 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft in its fleet and four spare engines to power them, he said.
"However, all these spare engines are with Rolls Royce offshore either undergoing service or waiting for a service slot."
December 10 – Flights NZ109 from Auckland to Sydney and NZ112 from Sydney to Auckland.
December 12 – Flight NZ107 from Auckland to Sydney.
December 13 – Flights NZ109 from Auckland to Sydney and NZ112 from Sydney to Auckland.
December 16 – Flights NZ109 from Auckland to Sydney and NZ112 from Sydney to Auckland.
December 17 – Flights NZ109 from Auckland to Sydney and NZ112 from Sydney to Auckland.
December 18 – Flights NZ109 from Auckland to Sydney and NZ112 from Sydney to Auckland.
December 29 – Flights NZ105 from Auckland to Sydney, NZ108 from Sydney to Auckland, NZ108 from Auckland to Sydney and NZ112 from Sydney to Auckland.
December 30 – Flights NZ270 from Auckland to Tonga and NZ273 from Tonga to Auckland.
January 2 – Flight NZ107 from Auckland to Sydney and NZ110 from Sydney to Auckland.
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