Qantas made headlines for its historic nonstop “test” flight from New York to Sydney last Friday, but doesn’t even know if the route is viable. Meanwhile, Air New Zealand has announced that it will serve New York nonstop from Auckland.
Starting in October 2020, Air New Zealand will launch nonstop flights between Auckland (AKL) and Newark (EWR). The flight will utilize a Boeing 787-9 and operate three times per week, covering a distance of 8,810 miles. The 787-9 will be configured with three cabins of service:
- 27 – business class
- 33 – premium economy class
- 215 – economy class
Air New Zealand will operate its 787-9 ‘Code 2’ aircraft to New York. This aircraft has a 275-seat configuration with a higher proportion of Business Premier and Premium Economy seating
The flight won’t be revolutionary in terms of distance, though it is certainly an utlra-longhaul flight. Rather, the flight will be the fifth longest flight in the world, behind:
- Newark to Singapore – 9,534 miles (Singapore Airlines)
- Auckland to Doha – 9,032 miles (Qatar Airways)
- Perth to London – 9,010 miles (Qantas)
- Auckland to Dubai – 8,824 miles (Emirates)
Air New Zealand’s Europe Strategy
As part of the news, Air New Zealand will also cut its historic Fifth Freedom flight between Los Angeles and London. I’ll have more to say about that in a subsequent post, but the new Auckland to Newark flight opens up a lot of doors to Europe.
As the relationship between Air New Zealand and United has grown closer, United can now offer passengers from Auckland connections to dozens of cities in Europe. Expect the Air New Zealand Newark flight to be timed so as to maximize domestic and international connections in either direction. I expect an early afternoon arrival in Newark and a late evening departure to Auckland.
Air New Zealand vs. Qantas in New York
Auckland is not Sydney…those traveling to Australia on Air New Zealand will have a connection plus additional 3.5-hour flight from Auckland. In that sense, Qantas will still have the upper end if its Project Sunrise JFK-SYD nonstop becomes a reality.
Even so, while Qantas floats the idea of a nonstop flight from the U.S. to “the land Down Under”, Air New Zealand already has an aircraft capable of the mission and actually beat Qantas to the punch.
I love how many new routes aircraft like the 787 and Airbus A350 have opened. I would gladly jump on this new flight if traveling to beautiful New Zealand.
With New Zealand so strict on carry-on baggage, I’d just as soon connect on the West Coast than via Auckland, however, if going to Australia.
image: Air New Zealand