Qantas and Oneworld alliance partner American Airlines will begin daily Auckland-Los Angeles flights in June 2016, breaking Air New Zealand's monopoly on the NZ-US route.
American will fly its latest Boeing 787 on the route, with Qantas feeding in passengers from Australia's east coast via codeshare flights in what Qantas CEO Alan Joyce noted would see a return to the "triangular route" which the Flying Kangaroo axed in 2012.
Flights will leave Auckland at 1.20pm to reach Los Angeles at 6.30am the same day, with the return leg outbound from LAX at 10.45pm for an Auckland arrival at 6.35am two days later.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker added that depending on the route's success, a second Auckland service to American's hub at Dallas Fort Worth – also shared by Qantas for its Sydney-Dallas flights – would be on the cards.
However, Parker believes the "vast majority" of passengers on American's flights will US travellers heading to New Zealand and then onto Australia with partner Qantas, rather than US-bound Kiwis.
Qantas connections a mixed bag
Travellers heading from Australia to catch the American Airlines flight will be in for an overnight stay at Auckland unless Qantas shuffles its trans-Tasman timetable.
While the AA flight will be wheels-up at 1.20pm, the earliest Qantas flight from Australia's east coast lands in Auckland at 2.10pm (based on the winter 2016 schedules) – unless you count the 5.15am touchdown from Melbourne which leaves you with eight hours to kill.
Flying across the pond from Auckland to Australia will tap into several Qantas services to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane due to American Airlines' early morning arrival time.
Busting the AirNZ monopoly
Today's announcement sees Qantas and American Airlines taking the fight to Air New Zealand on the Kiwi carrier's home turf.
AirNZ flies those routes with Boeing 777-200 and 777-300 aircraft fitted with business class, premium economy and economy seats.
Star Alliance member United Airlines will also begin flying the Auckland-San Francisco route from July 2016, but in partnership with AirNZ rather than competition.
Qantas' decision to restart direct Sydney-San Francisco flights is also expected to eat into AirNZ's own Auckland-SF service, which some Australian business travellers choose over Qantas in order to avoid a transit stop for connecting flights at LAX.
In December this year American Airlines will commence Sydney-Los Angeles flights.
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