Air New Zealand is poised to start operating nonstop flights to New York from Auckland. At 14,178 kilometres, the 15+ hour flight will be the longest in Air New Zealand’s network and be the fifth longest in the world. No airlines fly the route nonstop.
Before you pack your bags and book your tickets, the flights are not set to begin until October 2020 and are subject to regulatory approval and obtaining landing slots.
The flights will operate three times a week using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. This aircraft seats 275 passengers. In the main economy class cabin there are 215 seats in a 3-3-3 layout. These seats have a pitch between 31-33” and a width of 17.2”. This type of Air New Zealand aircraft features the skycouch option in economy class and will by the time these New York flights start, include the new economy stretch option.
The 33 seat premium economy cabin has a 2-3-2 layout. The seat pitch is 41” and the seat width is 19”. Overall, Air New Zealand premium economy is extremely well regarded. Up the front of the plane, there are 27 business class lie flat seats in a 1-2-1 layout. Seat pitch is between 79-80” and seat width is 22”.
The flights will not operate to JFK, rather to Newark. Newark is a hub for Air New Zealand’s North American alliance partner, United Airlines.
And Air New Zealand quits London
On the flipside, as Air New Zealand opens one new route they are closing another. Their well known fifth freedom flight between Los Angeles and London will cease in October 2020.
It’s an interesting move. Air New Zealand notes that less than 7% of overall passenger traffic between London and Auckland chooses to go via Los Angeles, that the transatlantic routes are very competitive and that Air New Zealand lacks the capacity and home market advantages to compete effectively.
But New Zealand is a former British colony, a member of the Commonwealth, and the Queen of England remains New Zealand’s Head of State. So there’s some cultural symbolism in the airline link. Despite this, the route is clearly underperforming. The UK flag carrier, British Airways, abandoned New Zealand some time ago.
Air New Zealand notes the UK is still a significant sales centre but the majority of sales generated there are not for the London-Los Angeles route. The airline also notes that in conjunction with their partner United Airlines, there will be seamless transfer options into Europe for their passengers going through Newark.
The take out
It will be the end of Air New Zealand metal in Europe – a shame. It will also mean the end of another fifth freedom flight that was always an interesting option for Star Alliance members.
The New York flights will take some of the wind out of Qantas’ sails. Qantas currently fly into JFK daily via Los Angeles but Air New Zealand will be the first airline in Australasia operating nonstop flights into New York, getting started ahead of Qantas’ proposed Project Sunrise Sydney – New York flights.
Categories: Air New Zealand