Air New Zealand is on a roll in Canada, with more passengers and more capacity ex YVR
Sabrina Bernacchia, one of ANZ's three national sales managers based in Toronto, was at the airline's 10th anniversary event in Vancouver. Air New Zealand recently launched a global campaign featuring New Zealand-born actor Sam Neill, shown on screen. Photo credit: Jean Sorensen

Air New Zealand is on a roll in Canada, with more passengers, capacity

VANCOUVER — Canada has become the charmer for Air New Zealand, as it has paced an annual passenger increase of 19% for the airline, with 66,000 Canadians heading down under last year and more seats and flights coming in January.

ANZ is stoking the fires with its first global campaign, ‘A Better Way to Fly’, launched in the Americas and first in North America. It will then be rolled out in Europe and Asia.

The campaign highlights the airline’s strength including its onboard New Zealand wine and food, innovative seating options (including a lie-flat bed in business class) and Airband, which allows parents to track children flying alone. The campaign is being driven by Pete the kiwi bird and New Zealand-born actor Sam Neill.

“It (Canadian market) is growing 19% (in passenger numbers) year on year,” said Liz Fraser, the airline’s newly-appointed regional manager for the Americas, based in L.A. The steady and predicted continued growth has prompted ANZ to announce it is adding a 20% increase in seat capacity, or 15,600 seats, from January through July 2018.

The increased capacity will come from increasing daily services beyond peak months of December and January into the shoulder season of February, and increasing to five services a week in March and April (up from four) and four weekly services during May – mid-June (up from three).

Fraser spoke of the airline’s growth at a function held at the Bill Reid Gallery in downtown Vancouver celebrating ANZ’s 10 years of flying out of YVR Airport, with members of YVR’s executive team on hand as well as Tourism Vancouver.

The rapid pace of ANZ’s growth started in spring 2016 when the airline announced a fourth flight between Vancouver and Auckland between October and December 2016, increasing 5,000 seats to the route. It was the airline’s second increase in lift capacity in six months when the announcement was made last year.

By comparison, ANZ recently announced that in the first half of the 2018 peak period, the airline will increase services from seven to eight flights per week.

Air New Zealand is on a roll in Canada, with more passengers and more capacity ex YVR

Lloyds Travel agents Deborah Charles and Lucas Sripathy were hand for the celebrations at the Bill Reid Gallery as ANZ celebrated its 10th anniversary since launching service out of Vancouver.
Photo credit: Jean Sorensen

Fraser said the growing demand for Canadians wanting travel to New Zealand is being spurred by two demographic groups: mature Canadian travellers looking for an escape from winter (while still seeking a destination that offers a cultural experience); and younger travellers picking New Zealand for its reputation as an adventure destination.
The backfill for the airline is expected to come from New Zealand visitors coming to Canada to ski and see the country. “We love to travel to Canada to ski,” said Fraser.

Fraser said that ANZ is by no means a low-cost carrier. “We are a premium carrier,” she said, adding that a range of classes are available to be sold by travel agents. One of the airline’s award-winning features is the Economy cabin’s SkyCouch seating, where triple seats can be reclined into a bed for three passengers. “Two people can purchase three seats,” she said, or a family with a child can use the opportunity to convert the seat into a bed to sleep during the flight.

Fraser said ANZ works with travel agents and can suggest itineraries for those going to New Zealand, or it can put agents in touch with both Canadian and New Zealand tour operators that package vacations or provide ground excursions, resulting in tag-on sales for agents.

As well, economy fares include one checked bag, premium economy includes two bags and business premier fares include three checked bags. ANZ flies 777-200ER aircraft on the route.

Air Canada, another premium carrier, is also active on the Vancouver-Auckland route and both Air Canada and ANZ are Star Alliance members.

In September 2017 Rob Fyfe, former CEO of ANZ, was appointed to the board of directors of Air Canada.