Air New Zealand has Australian travellers in its sights with the airline's new Auckland-Buenos Aires service, due to launch on December 1 with aggressive pricing to pull passengers away from the dominant players of Qantas and LAN.
Tickets now on sale for the Argentine route begin at $4,999 in business class from Sydney and just shy of $5,300 from Melbourne and Brisbane. Premium economy prices from the same cities all sit under $3,000.
The Kiwi carrier is also betting on the timing of its new NZ30/31 service as dovetailing into the necessary trans-Tasman leg to create a seamless one-stop service to South America.
NZ30 pushes back from Auckland at 7.20pm every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, to reach Buenos Aires at 3pm the same day.
The NZ31 return is wheels-up at 11:59pm to land in Auckland at 5.30am two calendar days later – giving travellers ample time to make their way through transit security screening and jump on an Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia codeshare flight back across the pond.
Travellers from Perth will be particularly well-served thanks to AirNZ's daily Boeing 787-9 flights to Auckland and an easy transfer within the same airport terminal.
"We're effectively closing the gap with a one-stop service from seven major Australian airports that will be more convenient than many of the options currently available," says Air New Zealand’s Chief Sales and Commercial Officer Cam Wallace.
Wallace expects about half of the route's revenue to come from Australian bookings.
The flights will take place on an upgraded Boeing 777-200 with fully-flat Business Premier business class beds and new premium economy seats (below).
Buenos Aires is the home and hub of AirNZ codeshare partner Aerolíneas Argentinas, which also makes things easy for passengers connecting onwards across the continent to destinations including Brazil, Chile, Peru and Venezuela.
Qantas employs a similar tactic with its Oneworld partner LAN – flying its passengers non-stop to Santiago four days a week on its own aircraft where they can connect across South America.
LAN also runs its own daily Sydney-Santiago flights, and like Air New Zealand, uses Auckland as a springboard along the way, and will put a Boeing 787-8 on the route next month.
PREVIOUS | Air New Zealand will begin flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina – the airline’s first ever scheduled service to South America – in December 2015.
The Auckland-Buenos Aires service will run three days a week on a Boeing 777-200.
“We’ve been very clear about our aspirations for growth in the Pacific Rim" said Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon in announcing the new route.
Air New Zealand will also enter into a codeshare agreement with Aerolíneas Argentinas, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals.
This will see Aerolíneas Argentinas' code return to the South Pacific market on the new route and on key connecting Trans-Tasman services, while Air New Zealand will code share on Aerolíneas Argentinas’ services to Brazil.
Aerolíneas axed its Sydney-Buenos Aires flights and exited the Australian market in April this year.
The Argentine capital is AirNZ's 28th international destination.
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