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Air New Zealand Starts Nonstop Service to New York From Auckland
This past weekend saw Air New Zealand launch nonstop flights from Auckland to New York City, ushering in nonstop service from New York to New Zealand.
There’s much excitement around the launch, it was first announced in 2019 with the expectation that the first flights would start in October of 2020. Unfortunately, a few months into 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic upturned international travel and Air New Zealand stopped nearly all international flights. The country then effectively isolated itself from most of the world in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19 within its borders.
The country since then has relaxed these travel restrictions and international travel is resuming at a steady pace. Over a dozen international routes have resumed service or will shortly resume service. The airline is planning on having 100 percent of its pre-pandemic domestic capacity and 75 percent of international capacity back in service by the end of 2022.
The flight will operate three times a week using Boeing 787 aircraft with blocked flight times of around 16 hours from Auckland to New York and around 17 hours on the way back. This has the flight clocking in as the fourth longest flight in the world.
Qantas Wants to Fight
It’s not all rainbows and ponies for Air New Zealand though. Qantas has come out swinging with its return to international travel and has taken a direct hit at Air New Zealand by also announcing nonstop service between Auckland and New York.
The Qantas flight is expected to launch in June of 2023 as am ICAO 5th freedom flight. QF 3 will begin in Sydney with a short hop to Auckland before continuing onwards to New York. QF 4 will run in the opposite direction. Qantas is shopping the flight as both a nonstop flight between Auckland and New York and a one-stop set up to get from Australia to New York given that Qantas operates nearly a dozen flights from Australia to Auckland allowing for easy connectivity to New York from most places in Australia.
This is enough to be a thorn in the side of Air New Zealand for a while as Qantas works through Project Sunrise which is expected to materialize in 2025. The plan here is to make almost any city in the world just one flight away from the East Coast of Australia. So far, the first expected flights will be nonstop flights from the East Coast of Australia to New York and London. Paris and Frankfurt are under consideration, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
It’s expected that the nonstop flight from Auckland to New York on Air New Zealand will be successful, even with direct competition from Qantas. Air New Zealand already flies to several U.S. destinations and while a direct competitor on a route will pose a challenge it most likely won’t significantly hinder plans Air New Zealand has for the route.
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