Qantas adds more Sydney-New York flights

The New York flights will rely on Auckland as launchpad for a non-stop trek to the Big Apple.

By David Flynn, May 23 2023
Qantas adds more Sydney-New York flights

New planes, new pyjamas in business class and a new menu from front to back: Qantas is pulling out all the stops for the launch of its almost non-stop flights to New York on June 14.

Those flights will run from Sydney to Auckland to New York, with that final leg taking around 16 hours, but they’ll set the stage for true non-stop flights between Sydney and New York expected from late 2025.

And from the end of October Qantas will ramp up the service to four flights a week, making it even easier for travellers to fine-tune their NY itinerary and make the most of ‘the city that never sleeps’.

Qantas also promises to “provide an exciting update” on those Project Sunrise flights during a media event in New York, having already revealed the A350’s all-new first class and business class and teased a fresh take on premium economy too).

Qantas' new A350 first class and business class for non-stop New York flights.
Qantas' new A350 first class and business class for non-stop New York flights.

For now, the Sydney-Auckland-New York marathon will be undertaken by one of the three new Boeing 787 Dreamliners which after a prolonged pandemic pause are finally making their way from Seattle to Sydney.

They’ll sport the same fit-out as their siblings, with 42 lie-flat beds in business class and 28 premium economy recliners.

Business class passengers will receive new-look PJs and amenity kits created “in partnership with a high flying Australian fashion designer”, while Neil Perry is cooking up “New York-inspired menu items” which will feature on the flights and in the lounges as part of the airline’s push to upgrading its menus across all international and domestic flights.

Bagels, pretzels or hot dogs? Expect a 'New York-inspired menu' en route to the Big Apple.
Bagels, pretzels or hot dogs? Expect a 'New York-inspired menu' en route to the Big Apple.

The 23-hour marathon

The New York flights will inherit the QF3/QF4 flight numbers which used to adorn the route when it had a stopover in Honolulu, and serve as the US equivalent to the flagship QF1/QF2 flight numbers attached to the Sydney-London route.

  • QF3 will initially depart Sydney every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 9.30am, arriving into Auckland at 2.35pm; it will then be wheels-up for New York at 4.35pm, reaching JFK airport at 4.50pm the same day for a total travel time of just over 21 hours
  • QF4 will initally depart New York on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm, reaching Auckland at 5am two days later (thanks, International Dateline) with a 7am departure for the final leg to arrive into Sydney at 8.40am – the total travel time is almost 23 hours, with the New York-Auckland trek scheduled at a bum-numbing 17½ hours
  • October 30 will see Monday flights from Sydney and New York join that schedule

Auckland’s upgrade from being just one city on the network map to becoming the Big Apple stopover will also see the Qantas Auckland lounge finally overhauled into a larger luxe-themed space, although work on the radically revamped lounge won’t be completed until mid-2024.

How the Qantas Auckland lounge will look after its extensive makeover.
How the Qantas Auckland lounge will look after its extensive makeover.

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

The luxurious Chelsea Lounge at JFK Terminal 8.
The luxurious Chelsea Lounge at JFK Terminal 8.

These bear unique names shared by New York and London neighbourhoods:

  • the first class Chelsea Lounge features an à la carte dining room, fireside lounge, luxury shower suites and nap beds, although at the time of writing Executive Traveller understands there is no arrangement to make theChelsea Lounge available to Qantas Chairman’s Lounge members
  • the chic Soho Lounge will welcome Qantas Platinum and Platinum One-grade frequent flyers
  • the Greenwich Lounge – which is the former American Airlines’ Flagship Lounge – will be the go-to for business class passengers, Qantas Gold frequent flyers and Qantas Club members
The chic Soho Lounge at JFK Terminal 8.
The chic Soho Lounge at JFK Terminal 8.

Read: Here are the New York lounges which Qantas travellers will use

Qantas’ return to New York – in pre-pandemic times the airline flew a Boeing 787 between LAX and JFK for connecting passengers, although it was not permitted to sell stand-alone tickets for this dedicated cross-country leg – won’t just be for Sydneysiders.

As with its flights from Perth to London and Rome, Qantas expects travellers from other Australian cities – mainly Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide – to fly to Auckland where they can the New York-bound Boeing 787. 

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,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce noted when the flights were first announced, “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.”

Kiwis will indeed be able to choose between identical Auckland-New York flights offered by Qantas and Air New Zealand.

AirNZ pioneered the LAX-skipping New York route in September 2022, although its Dreamliners are seriously handicapped by an out-dated business class seat that’s not due to be replaced until September 2024 with all-new Business Premier seats and Business Premier Luxe suites.

Coming in September 2024: Air New Zealand's new Business Premier suites.
Coming in September 2024: Air New Zealand's new Business Premier suites.

Read: Business class to New York – Qantas vs Air New Zealand 

For his part, Joyce expects the New York via Auckland route will remain after the late 2025 launch of those non-stop Project Sunrise flights.

“When we do Sydney-New York (direct), 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.”

Joyce believes the route will retain 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.”

30 May 2014

Total posts 7

Along with Perth-London and Singapore-London, another flagship route on the "Spirit of Australia" with non Australian based flight attendants. 


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 905

I'm waiting for Fiji Air to also announce Nadi to New York which would be a third player in the market, US, NZ and AU people flying via Nadi and a stop over.

think Fiji air has ruled out NYC for now, but Dallas is on the cards apparently, by December & only twice a week initially, I'm told. They get 2 more new A350s in July & August.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 138

For all the aviation wizards out there, couple of questions:

1. Is there a policy/law that allows AU/NZ carriers to fly out of each other's countries to other ports easily? I'm intrigued how QF could fly out of AKL to JFK (and pick up new passengers), and how Air NZ is ok with that, and how come they have not done a route like AKL-SYD-LAX or AKL-BNE-SIN (pick up some premium QF routes)

2. Have any other countries/airports have tried getting US Border Clearance like AUH. I would have thought a port like sydney would make perfect sense (due to the high number of US flights that originate from SYD)

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 24

Australia and NZ have had access to each other's international routes for decades. 

Air NZ first flew sectors from Australia back in the 1960s with DC8s which lacked the range to fly NZ to Asia non-stop.  In the mid 1990s they operated via Brisbane to Asian cities like Bangkok or Seoul. They later flew SYD-LAX in the early 2000s. 

Qantas first flew AKL-LAX back in the late 1980s. From memory they stopped in 2014. Qantas also used to fly AKL-Buenos Aires in the early 2000s.  

26 Mar 2020

Total posts 64

Australian and New Zealand have open sky agreements - in theory Air New Zealand could operate domestic flights within Australia if they really wanted too.

Qantas did in New Zealand during the 2000's - they operated domestic flights within New Zealand under "Qantas New Zealand" 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 391

AU and NZ have a fairly comprehensive open air agreement that allows each other's carriers to conduct domestic and international flights. Back in the 1990s/2000s Air NZ had a great daily B747-400 flight AKL-SYD-LAX (which they could sell AKL-SYD and SYD-LAX) but over time their focus was on direct New Zealand for international flights so they eventually pulled it, shame. QF also used to fly AKL-LAX daily with a 747-400 (downgraded to an A330 before they pulled the route) and not so long ago QF flew domestic NZ services using B737 but again over time they directed their "domestic" focus back to AU. Today both QF/NZ have a codeshare agreement on each other's domestic flights as feeders to each other's Trans Tasman operated flights and I think that's working ok. I think it's great to see QF back on the AKL-USA route, more the merrier. 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jun 2017

Total posts 42

There are like, 7 us-bound flights out of Sydney. A place like LHR probably has close to 70 and doesn’t have it. It would be incredibly dumb to build and staff a US preclearance border facility in Sydney. 

Irish airports have it (for historical reasons) as well as every Canadian city - some of whom see hundreds of US flights a day (in fact, US flights have their own terminals in all large airports.) 

I assume Abu Dhabi has it because their government pays for it. 

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 93

Not sure which country you're talking about, but if it's Canada, no Canadian airport has a separate terminal for any American airline. In Toronto there's a separate area for US/preclearance in Terminal 1, and in Vancouver it's in the main (only) building as well. No separate terminals.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jun 2017

Total posts 42

US-bound flights and American-based airlines are not the same thing. 

canada, the country i am from and have travelled back to approximately a thousand times in my life, absolutely has distinct transborder terminals at YVR, YYC, YEG, YOW, YYZ and YUL. Much in the way that most airports with any sense of design aren't a series of disconnected buildings, they're distinct sections of the same large building with their own check-in, security and US immigration facilities. 

Imagine if T3 at melbourne, which is very much the same building as T1-T2, were for "US departures" and every airline flying to the states (in canada, this means AC, Delta, American, United, Westjet, Alaska, Transat, etc) used it. It's the same thing. Toronto takes it one step further and has the same "sub-terminal" in both T1 (star alliance/AC) and T3(others.) 

called sam, single aviation market. It wasn't that long ago that nz did syd/lax NONSTOP.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Feb 2011

Total posts 13

The right to drop off and pick up passengers in a "non-Home country' enroute to a third country is called 5th Freedom Rights, they are negotiated between two countries.   Refer here 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 362

So what happened to the BNE-ORD route? Seems that QF has give up on it  


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1435

I think Chicago is being used to lever WA to allow Paris and Jo burg from Perth qantas terminal. That is they have a plan B for the new 787s if Perth doesn’t play ball.

23 Jun 2020

Total posts 3

Anything route that avoids LAX is a good route !

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Sep 2013

Total posts 14

Qantas used to actually lead and deliver new routes. This feels like a lazy copy of Air New Zealand, and a weak contribution compared to United’s stellar route schedule across the Pacific.

Qantas already is dead to folks living in California. Good luck convincing New Yorkers otherwise!

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1017

Qantas first said that they were going to restart the JFK flights via AKL before NZ did. NZ was able to start their AKL-JFK flights before QF because they had the aircraft to do so, while Qantas had to wait for new 787s to arrive (787s which were due to arrive in 2020, then got delayed due to the pandemic, then just as Qantas was about to take them, the FAA halted deliveries.)

30 Aug 2019

Total posts 1

Does anyone know if Qantas has announced what the new flight numbers from SYD-HNL, HNL-SYD will be? I selfishly wish QF had direct service to HNL from MEL.  

Here's an idea: go to the Qantas website and pretend you are booking a SYD-HNL-SYD flight sometime after the June 14 start of the SYD-AKL-JFK flights, or use Google, just enter 'flights sydney honolulu', and you will find the answer.

It's QF103/104. Been operating for quite some time now. Don't hold your breath on a MEL-HNL.

14 Sep 2015

Total posts 6

Has ET looked at the connection timings in AKL?

JFK-AKL: 0500 arrival


AKL-MEL 0610 or 0900

ADL - none nonstop 

PER - none nonstop

BNE - 615am or 330pm

AKL-JFK dep 1635

ex-BNE - arr 1420 (perfect)

ex-MEL arr 1455 (tight if delayed but otherwise ok)

I think QF has some work to do to offer "good" connections to anywhere other than MEL coming to Aus, and if you are in anywhere other than BNE or MEL you have a two stop journey anyway whether you go eg. ADL-SYD-LAX-JFK or ADL-MEL-AKL-JFK. It's a relatively small number of seats to fill three days per week. The 737 to MEL will be a fair stepdown at the end of a long journey too......

16 Feb 2016

Total posts 31

I think the connections will come as more aircraft come online. 

Given its only 3pw to start it doesn't need too much feed from BNE/MEL yet.  As it progresses to daily I would think you would start to see a widebody from MEL to connect and potentially more secondary destinations like ADL and CBR come online with direct flights on A220. If PER-AKL makes a reappearance you can bet it will be timed to meet these flights.

I do think this will be popular with Business Travellers combining a night or two in AKL before heading off to JFK. 

QF will be able to offer (mostly) on their own metal some interesting open jaws to help facilitate this. 


One less stopover seems insignificant, but time sensitive and loyal QFFs will love this.

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