Air New Zealand: non-stop Auckland-New York flights from October 2020

AirNZ pulls the trigger on direct flights from Auckland to New York, but axes the LAX-London route in the process.

By David Flynn, October 23 2019

Air New Zealand will begin flying non-stop between Auckland and New York on 29 October 2020, using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner optimised to carry more business class and premium economy passengers in a pared-back 275 seat configuration.

The Kiwi carrier's move comes as Qantas draws closer to making a decision on its own Project Sunrise direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to New York, although those are not expected to take wing until 2023.

AirNZ's 'Auckland to the Big Apple' route will initially run three times a week – on Monday, Thursday and Saturday – to the NY-adjacent Newark Liberty International Airport, which also serves as a hub for Star Alliance partner United Airlines.

The 14,178km trek will take 15hr40m from Auckland to New York and 17hr40m on the NZ-bound return leg, making it the world's fifth longest flight by distance.

Losing LAX-London 

However, at the same time Air New Zealand will axe its Los Angeles-London flights, which act as a second leg of the daily service from Auckland to LAX.

“Today Kiwis have more than twice the number of ways to fly to London than a decade ago and preferences have changed," says acting AirNZ CEO Jeff McDowall. "Less than seven percent of all airline travellers between Auckland and London chose to fly via Los Angeles last year."

"At the same time, the Atlantic has become one of the most hotly contested routes in the world and Air New Zealand lacks the home market advantages and scale of the North American and European airlines we’re up against."

"New York has been an aspiration for Air New Zealand for some time and withdrawal from the Atlantic will free up aircraft capacity to make this milestone a reality,” McDowall adds.

Air New Zealand's Auckland to New York flight NZ2 will depart at 7.55pm, reaching New York/Newark at 5.35pm the same day.

The NZ1 return leg will be wheels up from New York at 7.05pm for a 6.45am arrival into Auckland two days later.

New business class

Air New Zealand is also said to be close to revealing the next-generation business class seats which will adorn its forthcoming Boeing 787-10 jets.

The seat has been tested by groups of AirNZ passengers, including many who regular fly the airline’s longest routes, in a secure workshop dubbed ‘Hangar 22’ located near the airline’s Auckland headquarters.

Although all participants were required to sign non-disclosure agreements, one traveller – who holds Elite status in airline’s Airpoints loyalty scheme and flies to the US on a monthly basis – has praised the seat.

“This is the seat I’ve been waiting for,” he told Executive Traveller, speaking under the condition of anonymity due to his ‘high-value passenger’ status with the airliner.

“It’s a catch-up to the top rung of international airlines. There’s more space and more privacy, and are few small but clever touches done in an NZ way.”

“Not everybody’s going to love everything about it, but I think most business travellers will see this as NZ stepping from the 2000s into the 2020s.”

Speaking with Executive Traveller on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting in Seoul, outgoing Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon said those carefully-selected passengers "do simulated flights over the course of a weekend."

Particular focus was paid to "how they want to move through the different transitions of work, rest, sleep, and how we can make that as seamless as possible.”

Read more: Air New Zealand targets premium passengers with Boeing 787-10s

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Simbody

Simbody

23 Oct 2019

Total posts 3

Interesting choice for travellers by the time Sunrise comes live (if it gets green lighted) and flies out of Sydney. For me based in Brisbane, I'd likely prefer to go via Auckland than via Sydney to have bags go all the way through in each direction and to split the flights up a bit more.

wdeguara

wdeguara

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 89

Couldn't agree more, Simbody. When flying out of BNE I suspect a transit via AKL would be much more seamless and less stressful compared to transit at SYD or LAX. Looking forward to trying this service when it commences.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

You can transit via Chicago from next year as well.

NQflyer

NQflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 31

Yes, but you'll have to do the TSA shuffle in ORD, wouldn't have to do that in AKL!

Bevski

Bevski

01 Sep 2017

Total posts 4

If the seat improvements are what we are expecting, definitely via AKL from MEL for me.

Steve987

Steve987

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 255

Very similar to the current LHR call for eastern state travellers. I choose Singapore over Perth every day. That said, if Sunrise starts in Melbourne I'd go direct.

anwakefield71

anwakefield71

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

26 Oct 2014

Total posts 12

I can't understand why Air NZ are to pull flights from LHR - LAX. Also, the excellent STAR Alliance Lounge is run by Air NZ at LAX. Luckily the new AMEX Centurion Lounge is supposed to be open this year.

aviation

aviation

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 94

Probably because it's no long commercially viable. Air NZ will still have AKL-LAX so nothing would change with the Star Alliance Lounge in LAX.

djtech

djtech

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 106

Air NZ's goal of the route is just to provide NZ-ers to fly to London on the same airline but with their partnership with Singapore Airlines, most people would choose to fly on them instead making their NZ1 route redundant.

traveller

traveller

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Oct 2011

Total posts 33

Any idea on what time these flights will depart/arrive AKL at this stage? Curious about connections to/from AU

Simbody

Simbody

23 Oct 2019

Total posts 3

Will likely depart AKL somewhere between 7pm-9pm to feed in the afternoon bank of Australia flights, and then would likely get back in to Auckland around 6/7am to feed back out to the morning bank of Australia flights.

aviation

aviation

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 94

Schedule has been released, operating Mon, Thur, Sat

NZ1 - AKL/EWR 1955-1735

NZ2 - EWR/AKL 1905-0645*2

fatty

fatty

24 Feb 2015

Total posts 21

90min turn around time? Good luck to them.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 558

I assume the axing of the LHR route is a way to bury bad news with good news. They claim it is to make aircraft available but since LAX-LHR is a 77W and EWR-AKL will be a 789, this doesn't make sense. They do have the opportunity to make some serious money however by leasing or selling their LHR slot that they will no longer use.

aviation

aviation

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 94

773 could go on other current 787 routes such as YVR, IAH, etc

Carrots

Carrots

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Oct 2017

Total posts 31

A brief (ish) moment of procrastination has probably just led me to stumble across the delivery flight of this new premium heavy 787 for Air NZ.

Currently flying across the Pacific as NZ6096

https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/zk-nzr

Carrots

Carrots

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Oct 2017

Total posts 31

Oops scrap that - I can't read. From Oct 2020 not this month (doh!).

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 735

Well done Air NZ. AKL is a pleasant stop-over.

MelbFlyer

MelbFlyer

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

23 May 2013

Total posts 40

Having to clear customs & immigration in LAX even if taking NZ1/2 all the way through AKL - LHR would have been what helped kill this route.

Fonga

Fonga

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 228

Air NZ have flown this route to London for decades. I remember landing in Gatwick in the 80s not Heathrow. Must be a big shock to the airline's employees and Kiwis more generally. London has always had a strong pull for the young on both sides of the ditch. Bit of a shame they couldn't have continued the service across the Atlantic.

Libertyscott

Libertyscott

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 154

LAX-LHR needs to be understood as a route in its own right, as a significant proportion of passengers on Air NZ on this sector are NOT going onto AKL. The main reason the route has survived is not so much the connection to AKL, but because for many years (especially before the opening up of the skies between US and the EU) Air NZ won enough premium traffic on LAX-LHR in its own right to make the route viable. However, with UA, AA/BA and VS, plus Norwegian on the route, it is hard for NZ to compete for business traffic from either end with a single daily service. As a service between NZ and the UK, it lost out years ago because of the transit experience in LAX, which for many years has required all travellers to get an ESTA and go through passport control at LAX before going through security and re-entering the terminal. So most people have preferred to fly NZ-UK via SIN, HKG, DXB, DOH and other Asian cities (and Air NZ has deliberately built relationships with Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific to funnel NZ-UK traffic that way, to enable it to sell premium seats on LAX-LHR).

fatty

fatty

24 Feb 2015

Total posts 21

No big loss IMO. Cramped economy seats, narrow business seats, mediocre food and over priced. Premium economy pricing at most other airlines business class. The Prem Economy product is solid but too expensive when I can get layflat on Cathay, Singapore, Qatar, Korean, China Southern etc for less money.

richard89

richard89

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2017

Total posts 26

Agreed!!!!!!! Air NZ is sooooo overhyped due to their clever marketing. I mean trans Tasman they're low cost for goodness sakes! And their 777s are 10 abreast in economy.

Libertyscott

Libertyscott

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 154

For some years Air NZ actually had a reputation as a good option for celebrities going LA-London, because unlike US/UK carriers, there wasn't quite the fawning and unwanted attention seen by the big carriers. The Beckhams were known to fly on Air NZ for example, but it is fair to say that as the Business Premier product is now relatively dated, this has tailed off a bit. Furthermore, whilst Air NZ had the LHR-HKG-AKL route, it could justify the over 130 staff based in London for the route, but now it is marginal at best - a lot of crew to pay for one route that has little chance of expansion. Finally, it might indicate that Air NZ may look to phase out its 777 fleet completely over time. The 777-300ER is used, and with Air NZ replacing 777-200s with 787-10s, it might consider whether it goes all 787 longhaul, if it can make up for the volume of the 777-300ER with frequency using 787s.

Ian_from_HKG

Ian_from_HKG

CX

05 Jun 2012

Total posts 119

Am I right in thinking that this means that here is no longer any airline that flies right round the world? I believe NZ was the last to fly Australasia to Asia to Europe to the Americas and back to Australasia. Dropping the UK-US leg means, I believe, that one can no longer do that RTW trip with a single airline.

PS Before anyone jumps in and says Africa was missed out - yes, I am aware of that. But RTW doesn't require every continent

traveller

traveller

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Oct 2011

Total posts 33

Can sort of do it with SQ if you ignore surface sector in USA

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

@Ian_from_HKG - Except Air New Zealand has not flown from Asia to Europe for a while now.

And you can still fly SQ from Asia to Europe to USA to Asia

londoner

londoner

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

12 Jul 2016

Total posts 28

Gutted at the Loss of LHR - LAX a route is use often in Business Premier

Clancy

Clancy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 55

Imagine being on this flight if the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup and you forgot to take of your QF Wallabies cap...


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