Air New Zealand is accelerating its ambitions for North America and will launch a non-stop service between Auckland and New York using its 787-9 Dreamliner in October 2020. At the same time, the airline will withdraw from flying to London via its daily Los Angeles-London service.

Air New Zealand Acting Chief Executive Officer Jeff McDowall says while it’s hard to farewell such an iconic route, the airline must remain focused on markets with the greatest opportunity for long-term profitable growth.

“Air New Zealand is strongest when operating direct flights to and from our home base and this reset will put us in the best possible position to take advantage of increasing demand across the Pacific Rim.

“Visitor growth to New Zealand is strongest from North America and performance of our new service to Chicago is exceeding expectations. 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,” says Mr McDowall.

Air New Zealand will fly between Auckland and its alliance partner United Airlines’ New York hub Newark Liberty International Airport three times weekly, year-round, using its latest configuration Boeing 787-9 aircraft. This aircraft has a 275-seat configuration with a higher proportion of Business Premier and Premium Economy seating.

At a flight time of 15hr 40m northbound and 17hr 40m southbound, the 14,178 kilometre route will be Air New Zealand’s longest and the fifth longest in the world by distance

Tickets for Air New Zealand’s New York service will go on sale soon, subject to regulatory approvals and landing slot confirmation.

London decision

Los Angeles-London has been a flagship route for Air New Zealand and an important link connecting New Zealand and Europe since its launch in 1982, however Mr McDowall says market dynamics have affected performance in recent years.

“Today Kiwis have more than twice the number of ways to fly to London than a decade ago and preferences have changed. 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.”

Los Angeles-London will operate as scheduled until October 2020 and no tickets have been sold beyond this date.

From October 2020, Air New Zealand customers will be able to travel year-round between Auckland and London with partner airlines via 12 gateways in Asia and the Americas, including New York.

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