Air New Zealand tempts Aussie travellers with Buenos Aires flights

By Chris C., March 25 2015
Air New Zealand tempts Aussie travellers with Buenos Aires flights

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.

Read: LAN looks for growth with Boeing 787 on Sydney-Santiago flights

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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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

Brilliant! I overheard this news a few weeks ago on an ANZ flight. Glad it has come to fruition. 


12 Dec 2014

Total posts 6

Bit worried that the CEO of an airline thinks that Buenos Aires is part of the Pacific Rim...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1248


24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1192

For Australian pax from ports other than SYD, this will be the quickest way to South America using NZ/VA services across the ditch.  Transitting in AKL is a much easier and quicker proposition than SYD.

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 194

That depends on your final South American destination. For Brazil the NZ service via AKL/EZE is quite good as AR has several Brazilian flights.

But LA via AKL or QF via SYD covers more of South America outside Brazil.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 580

Not  only does it depend on the final South American destination but it depends on NZ's timings on their EZE flights and the timing of onwards connections to and from Australia. You could be stuck in AKL on a 5-hour layover in some cases.

Meanwhile, flying via SYD on QF metal, Qantas offers near-hourly flights into Sydney from most east coast airports.

Furthermore, LAN already offers one-stop (via AKL) service through codeshares on QF metal.

I wonder how much the NZD is worth on the black market in Buenos Aires.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

Question for one of the tech guru's here:

Does the 777-200 have ETOPS (I'm aware of the 787 recently getting FAA approval)? If not, which routing with NZ take?

31 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

777-200 had 180 ETOPS before the first delivery to United.  For this route AirNZ will be updating to ETOPS 330 (currently they have 240 on their 777s).

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251


12 Feb 2014

Total posts 230

My gut feeling is this is a wrong move by Air NZ.

First the choice of partner is poor. Aerolineas does not have a great rep for reliability, service or aircraft standards and it will be a shock for passengers going from one to the other.

Second, while Buenos Aires is a wonderful city and a destination in its own right, I'm not sure it is a great hub for the rest of South America. Santiago is much better placed if coming from our part of the world. LATAM has South America sewn up and is tied in with Qantas. LAN and Qantas are doing great business servicing that airport as a booming gateway to the rest of the continent. Business on QF is always chockers with miners on the way to Brazil.

Hard to see how Air NZ will make this work. Maybe there is sufficient traffic to BA alone to warrant three 777s a week, but I doubt it.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

Agreed that Aerolineas is not a great partner... however, there is not exactly a wealth of options out there in South America. It was either them or stay out of the market. They may benefit from getting VA codes on the service (I assume anyway)

Whether it works time will tell... however BA-Asia Pacific has had two airline withdrawals in the last 3-4 years. But current NZ management appear to be pretty smart operators.

I actually assumed that NZ would look at servicing South America via Houston (with United) initially... as its the more cautious option. But good luck to them.

QF could do a better job in South America by increasing their code-share options - to at least all the major cities.

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 230

Agree on the QF codeshares. I just returned from Quito, Ecuador on QF/LAN and no code share. It was a pain.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 363

I actually agree with you completely. I just don't see it being a long running service. Buenos Aires and New Zealand are great destinations in their own right, but I don't see the traffic. I guess NZ will benefit from passengers transiting to/from Australia but that would be about it. Transit pax from/to the Islands would be low, and other than that I feel most people would stick to QF direct or LAN via AKL due to their strong presence and frequency.

Aerolineas is an extremely poor partner choice. Bad, bad move.

I agree. I was under the impression that Argentina's economy is still a basket case.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

I'm surprised that they don't fly to Lima to hook up with Avianca/TACA to keep it with star alliance.

There would be enough people from AU/NZ going to Machu Picchu each week to fill three planes I think.

Either way, Star Alliance can now claim a RTW entirely in the southern hemisphere. Maybe not the greatest of marketing claims but a point of difference nonetheless.

04 Mar 2015

Total posts 17

Should point out it's $4,999. business RETURN!!

19 Jun 2012

Total posts 29

"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."
With a 13 hour transit when travelling From Perth and a 9 hour transit when travelling To Perth I beg to differ...

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 230

Perth travellers might find it easier transiting via Johannesburg. Direct flight available to Sao Paulo, but not BA I think.

Avianca would have been a better partner for Air NZ. Good reputation and decent network coverage.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 186

I'm not convinced by the appeal to Australians. No one from Sydney on a day when QF fly direct to South America would fly via Auckland unless they seriously like Star Alliance. Add to that the lack of Business class across the pond...and as others have said the choice of partners in South America may be slim but Air NZs choice is pretty poor...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 232

I actually tend to disagree with you- I think plenty would be up for the option, particularly if travelling to Argentina or Brazil. Many from Sydney already fly LAN through AKL, with an inferior J product. I think price would be the deciding factor but I'm certainly interested!

Also, Aerolíneas Argentinas is actually very good intra-Americas and Buenos Aires is a nicer transit point IMO

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 186

Fair enough, a Melbourne traveller going to Argentina would only see one stop if the flew via AKL with Are NZ.

As for inferior LAN product, their 787 is about to hit the runways between SYD-AKL-SCL.  It looks like it will be a fair competitor to the Air NZ and Qantas hard product.

Perhaps you have had good experiences with Aerolineas Argentinas, I have not flown with them. However, a wealth of anecdotal evidence suggests Qantas have the superior partner.

With 11+ flights across the pacific a week, and growng connections thanks to the giant that is LATAM.  I think its hard to call the Air NZ option better apart from some limited circumstances (ie. my Melbourne - Argentina example)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 232

Of course it's always going to come down to the individual, no doubt that LAN's network is far more convenient/extensive. I wasn't so much saying AArg were great but rather that they weren't bad. 

Agree with you on the MEL passengers finding it more appealing, as with Adelaide and Brisbane. 

LAN's J between Aus and South America is so bad, no direct aisle access but the price does reflect that. I was more referring to inter-South America, where their J and Y product is very average.

Again, each to their own though- we'll have to wait and see :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 232

Meant to say LAN's J 'isn't' not 'is so', definitely not that drastic!!

VA Platinum

21 Nov 2013

Total posts 20

To each their own I guess. As a VA Platinum based in SYD I would definitely take the transit in AKL to fly AirNZ over QF. However I am in the minority as I don't have any One World alliance whatsoever.

As mentioned previously, if you're traveling from any other port in OZ than SYD, the transit in AKL is much better than having to do the awful domestic to int'l at SYD..... Plenty of VA Gold and Plats in BNE, OOL who would appreciate this!

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

Great news! Airfares to South America have been ridiculous for some time. I've seen a lot of $3000 economy fares. Now we're talking premium economy for under $3000.

A result of the ridiculous airfares was that hardly any Australian tourists bothered to go to South America. Hopefully now they'll start. 

Though actually I just checked economy-class fares MEL-EZE in December just after the service starts, and guess what? $2945! Premium economy more like $4200. I found *one* flight, 12th of January, for the promotional price, but you have to be prepared to fly there and back on the same day...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2016

Total posts 1

Just flown Melbourne, Australia to Buenos Aires, Argentina via Auckland with Air New Zealand on their new service. Premium Economy (Space Seat) to Auckland and Business Class onto Buenos Aires. Return in Business all the way (that leg pending as at date of post). Fantastic flight - great service - lie flat bed (bit uncomfortable) - slightly late leaving Auckland - so tight connections for those heading onto Rio and São Paulo - didn't matter to me though - Ezeiza airport easy to navigate  -  flew same leg when Qantas used Buenos Aires as hub before moving to Santiago as hub. Agree with comments re Aerolinas - flew to Bariloche - mmm, different standard is all I can say! Testing LATAM to Easter Island - Economy and Business Class - see how that goes. And on another note flying Sky Airlines for internal flight - so that's at the other end of the scale - just to remind me that life needs balance - ha! I do not want to hear any stories about Sky Airlines. Ok?

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