For Star Alliance flyers trying to connect between Australia or New Zealand and South America, options are not just limited — there are no flights at all. Connecting via North America or Africa is required, adding hours to an already-long journey. With new aircraft comes new opportunity and Air New Zealand has announced it will commence service between Auckland and Buenos Aires (EZE) in December 2015.
The flight will operate 3x weekly and utilize a Boeing 777-200ER with business, premium economy, and economy class.
With a poor Star Alliance route network in South America, Air New Zealand will codeshare with Aerolinas Argentinas, the state-backed flag carrier of Argentina and member of SkyTeam. Recall that Aerolinas Argentinas eliminated its service to Auckland and continuing service to Sydney earlier this year, citing high operating costs. The codeshare agreement will provide greater connectivity to connecting flights within Oceania and Asia on Air New Zealand and within Aregentina and Brazil on Aerolinas Argentinas.
Will see award space on the new route? Perhaps some in economy class, but it has been more than two years since Air New Zealand released business class award space on transpacific flights and I would not expect the new EZE flight to be any different.
Air New Zealand, currently serving HNL, LAX, SFO, and YVR in North America, has announced plans for a fourth US destination, rumored to be Chicago, Houston, or Las Vegas. That announcement will come in the new year. As United pulled plans for its 787 IAH-AKL flight as retaliation against the city of Houston over its support of the international expansion of Hobby Airport, Air New Zealand has taken note of the opportunities that its long range 777s and 787s provide to reach further destinations in a more efficient way — these new routes, coupled with lower oil prices, may finally help to drive prices down on what has become a very pricey trip, especially when compared to what tickets to New Zealand and Australia were available for just a few years ago.