Qantas to fly Sydney-Auckland-New York

The New York flights will skip Los Angeles and go head-to-head with Air New Zealand.

By David Flynn, August 25 2022
Qantas to fly Sydney-Auckland-New York

Qantas will launch flights from Sydney to New York via Auckland in June 2023, in direct competition with Air New Zealand's forthcoming Big Apple route.

The airline will run a Boeing 787 three days a week on the marathon flight, which will act as a prelude to non-stop Sydney-New York flights under Project Sunrise from late 2025.

After the quick three-hour hop to Auckland, travellers will strap themselves in for a 16-hour leg to New York’s JFK airport.

The New York flights will inherit the QF3/QF4 flight numbers which used to adorn the route when it had a stopover in Honolulu.

  • QF3 will depart Sydney on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 10.05am, arriving into Auckland at 2.50pm; it will then be wheels-up for New York at 5pm, reaching JFK Airport at 5.15pm the same day
  • QF4 will depart New York on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm, reaching Auckland at 5am two days later (thanks, International Dateline) with an 8am departure for the final leg to arrive into Sydney at 9.40am

Tickets for QF3/QF4 go on sale today, with the flight each way on 16 June being designated as Points Planes on which every seats from tip to tail can be booked at Classic Reward rates, with one-way in business class at 144,600 Qantas Points.

“We can’t wait to return to New York and it's made possible by the delivery of new aircraft, which have been caught up in delays that have impacted lots of airlines,” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who added that three new Dreamliners would arrive in the hangars next year.

As with its flights from Perth to London and Rome, Qantas expects travellers from other Australian cities to make their way to Sydney in order to join the NY trip, saying the Sydney departures “will be timed to offer convenient connections.”

Qantas currently operates six daily services to Auckland from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne which will increase to 11 daily services when the new flight to New York launches.

In addition to connecting flights from the east coast capitals, Joyce aims to see “hopefully more destinations flying into Auckland that will connect with, that so we provide one stop from all of the major capitals in Australia.”

He believes the route will have particularly strong appeal because it skips the torturous Los Angeles stopover where travellers have to go through customs and immigration to collect and then re-check their bags before lining up to through security and back into the lounge.

“We see significant advantages over LAX because Auckland is a lot better and easier airport to connect through,” Joyce says.

But it’s not just about Aussies flying to New York. “A huge amount of the American traffic actually likes to do dual destinations for leisure travel so that allows us to tap into that – have a stop in Auckland and then come onto Australia, which we think will be really big.”

“We can also pick up passengers that are going out from Auckland or going to Auckland (so) we think this route will be very popular with Australians given the opportunity to connect via Auckland and it also gives New Zealanders more choice.”

And Joyce expects the New York via Auckland route will remain after the late 2025 launch of non-stop Project Sunrise flights from Sydney and Melbourne to New York.

“When we do Sydney-New York, we take it that there probably will (still) be a market for Auckland-New York, as there’s a lot of routes we take to be complementary to each other, and potentially serve a slightly different market… we’re optimistic that this will be maintained even post-Sunrise.”

Qantas will also finally upgrade its Auckland lounges ahead of the New York flight's June 2023 debut, with the current business and first lounges being replaced by a single and significantly improved ‘premium lounge’ experience..

And ahead of the flight from New York, business class travellers and frequent flyers will enjoy a visit to one of three new lounges jointly operated by Oneworld members American Airlines and British Airways at Terminal 8.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1140

I assume this route will disappear in 2025/26 as the direct SYD-JFK services commence.

26 Mar 2020

Total posts 61

Depends as it does tap into the New Zealand Market and the USA market (many American tourists prefer to combine NZ and Australia for their "once in a life time vacation down under"  

Perhaps they may reroute it as Brisbane - Auckland - New York 


03 May 2013

Total posts 657

Qantas arrogance at its finest...."sale" fare rtn to JFK is over 12K. Bring on JAL.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Nov 2021

Total posts 9

Likely works out as a better option until Project Sunrise comes online.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Mar 2022

Total posts 8

Rather than more AKL flights would've liked to have seen this slot in between the SYD-HNL 3x weekly flights to have that daily with the 787 onwards to JFK. 

~100nm difference between SYD-HNL-JFK and SYD-AKL-JFK. I know some people would prefer the short-long sector split with 3 hours then 16 hours, but you're carrying a lot of fuel in order to carry a lot of fuel on the second leg when another option exists (disregarding ETOPs and crew considerations...)


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1446

They can’t pick up US passengers in Honolulu but they can pick up joining passengers in Auckland. Auckland may be a good hub for other Australian connections as the Sydney one will be a bit tight for some morning connections. Have to be in by 7.30 to really make it safely.

26 Mar 2020

Total posts 61

Correct they can feed flights from Brisbane to AKL and Melbourne to AKL onto the AF AKL to New York flight and essentially compete head-on with Air NZ picking up the New Zealand market as well.


13 Aug 2016

Total posts 69

Via HNL requires PAX all to have to clear customs in HNL, as under American law you have to clear customs at first point of call. You can't International to International transit properly in the USA with our clearing transit customs. 

In AKL, PAX from SYD,MEL,BNE just have to go through transit sercuirty then are free to roam the terminal until they board there connecting flight.


21 Aug 2022

Total posts 9

Will these flights be crewed by Australian crew or outsourced to cheaper Kiwi crew (which QF are currently training on the 787?)

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 341

No Points eats showing in Business 16.6.2023

10 Jun 2015

Total posts 13

IMHO by the time these flights are up and running (2023), all Kiwi (Jetconnect) crew will be fully endorsed on 737/787/330 and 380. The “older” Jetconnect  crew who have been flying for years are currently already endorsed on 330/380/787, the newbies (recent recruits) only on 330 for now-there is a huge backlog for training in Oz. So the answer is yes SYD-AKL-JFK will be kiwi crewed-cos they get paid less than Aussies.

Off topic for now-Incidentally don’t forget kiwis crew the MEL-DEL-MEL only cos Aussie unions still haven’t signed off on the middle economy rows as crew rest! 

Again apologise for going off topic! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2015

Total posts 12

It’s not too bad going over that route but coming back, the extra 3 hours is not good even in Business.  I did it years ago on Air NZ.  Won’t be going anywhere at the moment though, QF Business over the top price wise over $12k for the pleasure plus if you do it from BNE it’s $370 dearer than from SYD. 

why does this aircraft sit so long at AKL ? Surely can turn a B787 in 90 mins  ? Surely the aircraft could depart & arrive SYD later/earlier resp. ?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Feb 2015

Total posts 3

The layover period at Auckland on this JFK service is ridculous.  3 hours on the return?  At more efficient airports and with more efficient airlines it will be more like 1hr 20m or even less.  Imagine if the flight from JFK is early, then passengers could be tapping their toes in Auckland for 4 hours??? Really???


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1446

It is flying into the wind (so need flexibility) or there are slot issues.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Feb 2020

Total posts 26

I think it sounds like a great route. 

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 May 2018

Total posts 7

I note Mr Joyce’s comments about Americans wanting to travel to both Australia and New Zealand in the one itinerary yet it has been some years since Qantas flew between AKL and LAX. I always wondered why Qantas never had plans pre pandemic to fly, for example, SYD-DFW with the B787 and MEL-AKL-DFW with the A380. With AA’s biggest hub being DFW, Australia’s and New Zealand’s biggest cities would only be one stop from nearly every city in North America. On another point, if Qantas ever did expand flights between North America and Auckland, would the economics of flights between ADL, CBR, HBA, OOL, TSV, and CNS to AKL stack up if aircraft such as the E190 (with an expanded agreement with Alliance) and the A220 (when they come into service) were used. Would these 2 aircraft types need CASA certification re etops to fly across the Tasman?

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 14

Unexpected but very clever move. Air NZ will be spewing! In my experience NZ crew are better than Au crew so that’s not a bad thing either

Stopover in Auckland is a bad choice. Qantas should ratler add a new American city, I mean Chicago or Denver and make a stop there. Mexico is also better idea than competition with Air New Zealand.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas to fly Sydney-Auckland-New York