LINK. Air New Zealand will withdraw services between Hong Kong and London from 4 March 2013 as the airline focuses on returning its international network to profitability. In a separate move which is part of Air New Zealand’s strategy to implement an alliance based network with a Pacific Rim focus, the airline has also formed a strategic agreement with Cathay Pacific on the Auckland – Hong Kong route. Rob Fyfe, Chief Executive Officer, says a comprehensive review of the Hong Kong – London service has confirmed the route would not become profitable in the foreseeable future. A reduction of approximately 70 London based cabin crew roles is expected as a result. “At the same time, we wanted to strengthen our presence in Hong Kong which is an important market and vital gateway into Mainland China for Air New Zealand. In line with this we have received approval from the New Zealand Ministry of Transport to form a strategic agreement with Cathay Pacific effective from 12 December 2012.” “The agreement will see both carriers continue to operate the same frequency between Auckland and Hong Kong while introducing code share on each other’s flights as well as opening up excellent connections between New Zealand and Mainland China,” says Mr Fyfe. Air New Zealand operates daily year round services between Auckland and Hong Kong while Cathay Pacific operates daily year round services and up to double daily in the peak period between 2 December and 1 March. Air New Zealand customers will now also earn Airpoints™ Dollars on Cathay Pacific flights between Auckland and Hong Kong, and Airpoints and Koru members travelling on Air New Zealand flight numbers will receive lounge access and premium customer benefits on this route.