WOW: Air New Zealand Will Fly Nonstop To New York

Filed Under: Air New Zealand

Update: This route has now been postponed by at least a year, and will start no earlier than late 2021.

Wow! Air New Zealand has just announced some massive changes to their international route network.

Air New Zealand Will Fly Nonstop From Auckland To Newark

Air New Zealand has announced that they’ll start flying nonstop between Auckland and Newark as of October 2020.

The route will operate 3x weekly year-round using a Boeing 787-9. The plane will feature a total of just 275 seats, including 27 business class seats, 33 premium economy seats, and 215 economy seats (this is their more premium heavy 787-9 configuration).

Tickets for the new route are expected to go on sale soon.

The flight will operate with the following schedule:

NZ1 Newark to Auckland departing 7:05PM arriving 6:45AM (+2 days)
NZ2 Auckland to Newark departing 7:55PM arriving 5:35PM

This ultra long haul flight will cover a distance of 8,810 miles in each direction, and will be blocked at 15hr40min eastbound and 17hr40min westbound. This will be Air New Zealand’s longest route, and the fifth longest flight in the world by distance.

This will be just marginally shorter than Qantas’ current flight from Perth to London, as well as their new Brisbane to Chicago route, launching next spring.

Newark will be Air New Zealand’s sixth North American gateway, after Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver.

Air New Zealand Canceling London Flights

As part of this decision, Air New Zealand has also announced that they’ll be canceling flights to London as of October 2020.

The airline has been flying to London since 1982, but it has proven an increasingly challenging market for them, given that they’ve needed to operate a one-stop routing.

Back in the day Air New Zealand flew to London from both Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Several years back they canceled their Hong Kong to London route, and now they’ll cancel their Los Angeles to London route.

This makes perfect sense, since there are all kinds of one-stop options for getting between New Zealand and London, so they now lack a competitive advantage there. Air New Zealand notes that nowadays there are more than twice the number of ways to fly between London and Auckland compared to a decade ago, and fewer than 7% of passengers chose to fly via Los Angeles.

Furthermore, canceling this flight enables the airline to fly nonstop to Newark. Customers will still be able to book Air New Zealand and partner airlines to London via 12 gateways in Asia and the Americas.

As Air New Zealand’s acting CEO explains:

“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.”

With Air New Zealand leaving London, unfortunately they’ll have to close their London cabin crew base of around 130 people.

Air New Zealand Beats Qantas’ Hype

It’s funny because we’ve been hearing all about Qantas’ recent “research” flight from New York to Sydney, as the airline hopes to start flying this route regularly in the coming years.

However, doing so requires new aircraft technology, since no current plane can fly nonstop from New York to Sydney with a full payload.

This is part of Qantas’ “Project Sunrise” plan, which should see the airline eventually flying nonstop to London and New York from the East Coast of Australia.

In this case New Zealand has the benefit of being closer to New York than Australia, so the 787-9 can do this route nonstop. Unfortunately a nonstop to London likely won’t ever happen, given what a long journey that would be.

Qantas flew nonstop from New York to Sydney with a lightly loaded 787

Bottom Line

What an exciting new route for Air New Zealand! The airline started flying between Chicago and Auckland last year, and I guess the route has worked well, as the airline is now launching an even longer flight.

While Air New Zealand cutting their fifth freedom flight between Los Angeles and London is a shame, it makes perfect sense that the economics of that just weren’t working out, given that they didn’t have much of an advantage over their competitors.

What do you make of Air New Zealand’s major international network changes?

  1. This is exciting! I loved my flight in their premium economy last year when I flew from New York via LA.

    You think this was timed to puncture the Qantas hype balloon?

  2. Newark is a good choice. United’s hub will help air new zealand provide variety of transfer options. Curious to see if United will be affected by this as they provide Auckland options from ewr-sfo.

  3. I flew LHR-LAX-LAX with Air New Zealand once, many years ago. They had very good service. Half of the 747 upper deck was premium economy, and that is the only time I’ve flown on the upper deck. At least back then the route was not very well known, which some people saw as an advantage.

  4. I look froward to seeing who tries to get the slot pair at LHR from this. October 2020 isn’t too far from when JetBlue wants to launch and the timings work great for a JFK-LHR route.

  5. So sad they will suspend London. It was a great alternative to lax They believe they can feed traffic with their star alliance partners via lax iah EWR or ord,
    however it’s likely people will avoid that

    Currently their set up at LAX is quite good All in the Tom Bradley terminal with passengers being redirected airside after passing via immigration
    I would avoid it once they stop

  6. Sad for those who will lose their jobs in London. Also, I know a few people who found them a great of getting from LHR to LAX. And quite good value too.

    I am surprised to see them cancel London flights, even if they’re not lucrative, a route into London is always seen as prestigious (regardless of course of how awful LHR is), especially for a Commonwealth country.

  7. @icarus
    I believe the most efficient way to fly to London and back post-route cancellation won’t be via the US, but westbound via SIN. NZ and SIA fly a combined 3x daily from AKL to SIN (plus 1+x daily from CHC to SIN, and SIA flies onwards to London 4x daily.

  8. Surprised at the reaction here. As an LAX based flyer I think losing an LAX-LHR non stop option is a total drag, particularly as I’ve been able to get points seats out of LHR relatively easier than on AA. Better flight times and better soft product. Plus the 789 has fewer J in total. I loved our NZ flight out of LHR, I’m sad!

    On top of that, I like the current NZ 773 biz class in some ways better than the more “private” seats coming online. I recently flew NZ in J to AKL, and QF back to US in their 789 , and apples to apples I’d take the combination of NZ hard and soft product.

  9. I can’t help but think that US Homeland Security also played a part in this decision to cancel the AKL-LAX-LHR. When NZ was in Terminal 2 transit passengers didn’t have to clear immigration, now as with TN the on going flights are running late as it a hassle to having transit passengers spend an hour and half or more in line to clear immigration..

  10. Newark will be the 2nd US city to operate to 6 continents behind ORD.

    Brings up some interesting ideas for that worlds quickest mileage run if the flights end up being well timed

  11. Newark will now be 1 stop service from all major Australian cities. I am sure QF not happy about this development. I would rather transit AKL than SYD.

  12. I’m surprised the AKL-LAX-LHR lasted as long as it did. Unlike pretty much every other country in the world, the US makes everyone on the plane get off and go through US immigration when the plane stops, which means that everyone needs a visa or an ESTA even if they’re not planning to visit the US.
    Connecting to UA at Newark (which is closer to midtown than JFK) makes a lot more sense and is no more hassle.

  13. Like another person has said, Newark is NOT New York so any Pax need to remember that.
    Sad to lose a link between two close countries in England and NZ.
    Perhaps ANZ will rue this when their partner airlines don’t reap the expected benefits from their former passengers. I think they have shot themselves in the foot with this decision !

  14. As a Kiwi based in NY this is a game changer. Especially for the parents coming to visit.

    Their new J seat is rumored to be close so hopefully that comes with this route.

    Can’t imagine much luck booking this with points I’m afraid…

  15. This is sad they closing LAX to LHR…I loved that flight. I am an AC Super Elite who would always choose this flight over AC (one stop) or UA as Air NZ was ten times better (left late enough both directions).

  16. Perhaps someone should proof read the title for these guys. Title reads “Air New Zealand Will Fly Nonstop to New York” yet the article says NEWARK. Close…but not the same place.

  17. Wow — so many ultra-long distance non-stop flights from Australia and New Zealand to EWR! Ain’t technology great? 😛

  18. This is awesome! I’d fly this route! Right now I’ve transited at either LAX or SFO when going to NZ from NYC.

  19. People prefer transiting via Asia as you aren’t treated as criminals and don’t have all the nuisance with bags when transiting. If the US wants to continue with all this extra security they should be more quick and efficient for transiting passengers. Unless actually staying a few days extra in LA then it is via Asia every time for many Kiwis.

  20. Now if they would just release some more seats to award partners like Aeroplan that’d be great!

  21. @Jake, timing sure doesn’t hurt. However, the driving reason for announcing it now is that we are now in the booking window for October 2020.

  22. This would also make EWR the third US airport after ORD and IAH (once ET starts service there) to offer nonstop service to all 6 inhabited continents!

  23. For all of the Newark haters, EWR is closer than JFK to the business districts of downtown and Hudson Yards, and has the amazing Polaris lounge that business class passengers should be able to access. Unless you live in Long Island, why would you want this flight to go to JFK?

  24. I am laughing at all the people here who are arguing that Newark is not NYC. No, it’s not, but the airport is in fact a New York airport. It is actually quicker usually to many spots in Manhattan vs. JFK. Get over it. It’s like saying BWI is ONLY Baltimore when many of us use it in DC when it serves a purpose.

  25. Great news again from Air NZ, they’re usually a jump ahead. Except when they ordered 787’s instead of the fabulous A350. Price isn’t everything…A350’s are more expensive for very good reasons.

  26. Why don’t America carriers go after these long haul routes? Do their shareholders not tolerate this kind of stuff? Is it too risky?

  27. I live in New Zealand. Echoing what others have said, the connection in LAX was horrible. Last time I did it i was shouted at by a homeland security brute as to why I had no luggage. He refused to believe me when I told him it was checked through on NZ. It took ten minutes to sort out and an NZ staffer to explain the process. No apology.

    Since then I have avoided this connection. Definitely US officials unwelcoming attitude has helped to contribute to the demise of this flight

  28. Would any other Australians besides me think this might be a good option (depending on price) for visiting NYC?

    I’d far prefer to transit in Auckland NZ than at LAX. Having to face stony-faced immgiration and belligerent TSA officers so early in the morning before the internal USA leg is my pet hate when visiting the USA.

  29. @Ben
    As regular JAL passenger, that is a very dense 787-9 configuration. Almost a sardine can.

    It makes me wonder whether JAL could not do some South America destinations on their actually premium heavy configuration.

  30. “I look froward to seeing who tries to get the slot pair at LHR from this. October 2020 isn’t too far from when JetBlue wants to launch and the timings work great for a JFK-LHR route.”

    My first thought on the LHR slots is that NZ would give first refusal to United, then its other JV partners (SQ and CX) though I doubt CX are in any position to afford them. Remember LHR slots aren’t allocated by the CAA, they’re traded between airlines. Aside from Delta, United is the airline that can most easily afford them.

    Connecting at EWR may become the preferred route for NZ fliers to Heathrow, with United operating the High J 767, one of the most comfortable long haul planes in all classes (1-1-1 Polaris, 2-2-2 Premium Plus, and 2-3-2 economy). Better still if UA gives NZ gate space at EWR T3 for connections.

  31. If an airline doesn’t fly to London, it’s not a real airline.

    And this is the best way of flying from LA to London.

    For Newark?

  32. Says it best:
    (I believe the most efficient way to fly to London and back post-route cancellation won’t be via the US, but westbound via SIN. NZ and SIA fly a combined 3x daily from AKL to SIN (plus 1+x daily from CHC to SIN, and SIA flies onwards to London 4x daily.)

    I agree 100% with you . I just did the QF ( from SYD) and before the SQ via SIN ( From BNE) very good transit in SIN. Beats LAX by 100%

  33. Excellent. It removes the need to transit in LAX.
    As US airports are not yet able to handle sterile transit this used to be the big drawback of the trip: barking security, armed fat thugs in uniform, unpleasant immigration officers, long lines at security checkpoints etc.
    Uncivilized experience.

  34. Beyond just London, this makes a lot of sense for a broader array of connections between Europe and AKL, since NZ can create 1-stop connections through EWR for all of UA’s network in Europe. Many of these are already served via SIN, of course, but more options never hurts.

    Also for those saying EWR isn’t New York, there are broad swaths of the NYC metro area, including, I find, Manhattan, that are better served via EWR than JFK.

  35. Not sure why many people think this is great for transiting to other points. It’s only good for people traveling between NZ and the NYC area (And only half if it for that matter). For flights in the US, you’d be back tracking every time. And there are so many options to travel one stop from NZ and Australia’s East coast to Europe and East coast USA by transiting through Asia. I would never transit through the US (even for a domestic if possible) due to the terrible infrastructure and as people have noted – the ridiculous treatment of the CBP.

  36. EWR is a NYC based airport, but in reality it is not based in NYC. I hope that the two actual NYC airports will start to be a lot better after the renovations. By the way, this is just like those living in NJ close to New York telling people that they are from New York. Y’all not from New York. Do not be embarrassed to say you are from NJ, hehe. LOL.

  37. @Stuart

    I’m laughing you. You sound like you’re from Jersey.
    It is actually quicker usually to many spots in Manhattan vs. JFK. Probably from only 1 spot, West 30th St Heliport and you have to take a helicopter to EWR.
    For NYC, unless you fly United, EWR is ……., don’t even bother.

    Get over it.

  38. Thank god this new route will not have their 777 with it’s ridiculous sardines-in-in-a-can style Business seating. The 789 J seating (as pictured) is not ground-breaking though; maybe AirNZ has been scared off being innovative after the 777debacle.

  39. Great to see them introduce this route and for anyone familiar with NY area airports EWR is a NY area airport – Unfortunately NZ have the worst business class seats out there and the carrier is an expensive one – but they do have great service and crew so …..hopefully they will address this in the not too distant future

  40. You can argue Newark is the most convenient airport to get to from Manhattan. I don’t understand why people claim “it’s not New York.” Is the airport technically within the city limits of NYC? No, however you can get to EWR from midtown in under 25 minutes on the train, much faster than JFK.

  41. Big deal air nz is going to Newark. Qantas goes to the real NYC Airport… JFK. Its like saying gosh lets go to Gatwick instead of Heathrow.

  42. @Dick Bupkiss — “Project Sunset.” —

    LMAO! Great one! Or how about also “Project SuperNova”? 😛

  43. @Eric, @John Levine, @Aniro, @Oranjemakker, @Ron
    Yes, U.S. Homeland Security is a significant reason why “only 7% of Air NZ pax to LHR use the LAX route” – for all of the reasons indicated; Asian carrier stopover ports (esp. fantastic SIN Changi), facilities, hotel stopover rates, plus sterile transit areas all combine to create a better travel experience than an encounter with the process and facilities at LAX.

  44. @ Kitsilano

    I didn’t know that but it is not surprising. There is really no reason why one should volunteer through airports that do not yet have proper transit capabilities and are mostly staffed with fat barking primals.
    If I need to be in the US I get myself in through one of the smaller airports where typically the experience comes closer to being acceptable. For transit: neverrrrrr

  45. @Ron

    “Fat barking primals”. Yup, you summed up perfectly what most arriving pax experience when they come into contact with U.S. officialdom, especially at JFK and LAX. That’s why I choose HNL as my arrival point whenever possible. Friendly welcome at passport check. Even customs officers smile and joke as they check your bags!! I know I’ll never get that treatment at LAX or JFK.

  46. Fat, barking, brain-dead primates. There, I fixed it for you.

    US shouldn’t be considered a place for transiting, unless you’re a masochist.

    Too bad NZ stops flying from London, but fully understandable. I’m most curious about what will happen to their slots at LHR (and their crew). I’m not too excited about the EWR route. Such ultra long flights are are already a nightmare, especially when flying Economy, and turn into full hell when arriving in the US with the aforementioned welcoming committee.
    Just like many others here, I will fly via Asia when flying to and from NZ.

  47. As an Australian, I would much rather fly eastbound with stops in AKL to EWR or any North American city, As well as EZE. Transitting there is so much better for me than going through the hell of homeland security in the U.S.
    Well played Air NZ I look forward to flying you again ome day.

  48. Air NZ tried LHR via HKG for a few years but couldn’t compete with the Asian players. Pax with experience of the primates who staff security and immigration at LAX switched to avoid the transfer hassles blamed on Dubya after 9/11. To be fair, I’ve seen as much chaos at DFW transferring to domestic but the staff there were at least human. Friendliest welcome I ever had in the US was Detroit.

    My way to/from NZ from UK has long been Emirates – from my local airport – whose A380 economy space and comfort puts Air NZ’s sardine tin 777s to shame. Those privileged to fly bizzo get a product streets ahead, at least in the big bus.

    And my most recent trip was a 777 hop to DBX and annoying east coast Australia stops. Today, it’s all-A380 and direct short DBX to AKL. Time is less than on Air NZ, as no trip to London is required. Timings are better, too.

    Where I need to return via L.A, I’ll Oneworld it on AA (in season) to LAX and home to LHR on BA or AA. Air NZ was always the expensive option across the Pacific and I did most of my trips when living in NZ with United.

    I doubt Kiwis will be too fazed. Many like to break the long trip between NZ and Europe with a stopover in Asia and they are spoiled for choice. Singapore, the airline and the place, seem very popular with friends.

  49. 12, in the order of least-to-most total distance (Great Circle Route):

    You’re welcome

  50. Wish this was a possibility last year when I flew back from NZL to NYC.

    Used VA miles but could only go up to LAX/SFO. Had to spend 25k additional AS miles to take a red eye to NYC on AA J flatbed.

    In short, this is a huge win for NYC-ers.

  51. RE: Comment of transiting LAX

    The US does not have transit space for international flights (the exception was Hawaii, a long time ago for Canadian Airlines from Australia to Vancouver).

    The hassles for people to transit through the US and having to deal with US immigration is usually an unpleasant experience. So any way to avoid the US is usually welcome by international travelers. Not to mention the appalling condition of US airports.

  52. I seem to remember that Terminal One at JFK used to process a transit flight to/from South America between a European destination. The airport would roll movable walls around a gate area to facilitate this.

    Maybe this was before 2001 but it has been done before.

  53. As soon as the transfer in LAX became non-sterile years ago, I started flying via Changi. The time wasted in LAX coupled with rude staff and let’s not forget the massive increase in airport taxes, made the switch a no-brainer. Pax forget about the add on taxes as it’s included in your ticket price, but I’m not paying exorbitant amounts for security only to be treated like a criminal. Air NZ is correct in watching the competitive market. With the excellent Asian airlines SQ and Thai connections and service, LAX was losing ground.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *