Official: Air New Zealand Launching New York Flights

Official: Air New Zealand Launching New York Flights

47

This is exciting — Air New Zealand will soon launch nonstop flights between Auckland and New York, which will be one of the world’s longest flights.

Air New Zealand’s Auckland to New York route details

Air New Zealand will offer year-round 3x weekly flights between Auckland (AKL) and New York (JFK) as of September 17, 2022. The new flight will operate in both directions on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with the following schedule:

NZ1 Auckland to New York departing 7:40PM arriving 7:55PM
NZ2 New York to Auckland departing 9:55PM arriving 7:30AM (+2 days)

Auckland to New York is a long route

The flight will cover a distance of 8,828 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 16hr15min eastbound and 17hr35min westbound. Air New Zealand will use a Boeing 787-9 for the route, which I’ll talk more about below.

Air New Zealand initially announced this route pre-pandemic, but as you’d expect, it was delayed due to the pandemic. New Zealand more or less closed its borders for the past two years, but that’s finally changing, as the country plans to open up to vaccinated Americans without quarantine as of May 2022.

It’s pretty noteworthy that Air New Zealand will use the NZ1 and NZ2 flight numbers for this. That’s not a coincidence. Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran makes it clear that this will be Air New Zealand’s new flagship route. In the past NZ1 and NZ2 were used for Air New Zealand’s service to London via Los Angeles, which was cut pre-pandemic.

Air New Zealand will use a Boeing 787-9 for the route

Air New Zealand will using a Boeing 787-9 for its route to New York. Specifically, the airline will be using its lower density version of the aircraft, featuring a total of 275 seats. This includes:

  • 27 business class seats
  • 33 premium economy seats
  • 13 Skycouches (economy seats that convert into couches)
  • 202 economy seats

The less dense configuration is probably necessary for this route. Not only do ultra long haul flights like this rely on premium demand to be profitable, but a more premium aircraft also helps keep the weight down, which improves range.

With the airline operating 3x weekly flights, it looks like Air New Zealand could in theory operate this route with a single aircraft. Of course that’s not likely to happen — airlines cycle aircraft throughout their network — but I’m just saying that it’s possible.

We know that Air New Zealand plans to eventually introduce an all-new business class product. However, it doesn’t seem it’s quite ready for launch. When it does launch, I imagine New York would be among the first destinations to get the plane. I unfortunately also wouldn’t expect to see Air New Zealand’s Skynest concept to be on this flight anytime soon.

Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787-9 business class

Air New Zealand chose New York over Newark

When this route was first revealed a couple of years back, Air New Zealand expressed interest in flying to Newark (EWR) rather than New York (JFK). I suppose there’s more prestige in flying directly to New York, though from a practical standpoint Newark made more sense. That’s because United Airlines has a huge hub at Newark, so this would open up all kinds of connecting opportunities.

In the end Air New Zealand selected JFK, as I guess executives are expecting that most of the demand will be to & from New York, rather than connecting.

That would be fair enough, yet oddly Air New Zealand’s press release about the route references how this route “deepens the alliance between Air New Zealand and United Airlines,” and how “through Air New Zealand’s strong partnership with United Airlines, domestic customers across the US can easily connect to New Zealand through New York.”

Someone’s gotta let Air New Zealand know that United’s only destinations out of JFK are LAX and SFO, and those aren’t exactly logical routings for those looking to travel to AKL!

United has a big presence at EWR, not JFK

Bottom line

Air New Zealand will finally be launching its much anticipated New York service. The airline will fly 3x weekly nonstop with Boeing 787-9s from Auckland to New York. What an exciting new route connecting the Big Apple to one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

In terms of ultra long haul routes, I think it’s also worth mentioning that Qantas is continuing to work on “Project Sunrise,” which is the goal of launching nonstop flights from Melbourne and Sydney to London and New York.

What do you make of Air New Zealand’s nonstop flight to New York?

Conversations (47)
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  1. Bols59 New Member

    Viz. LGA/JFK/EWR, a few hours ago I was reflecting on how corrupt NY politics is. Why? Because there is no rail loop between the three airports. Wouldn't it make sense to connect them? Of course it would! My understanding is the reason there is no rail loop is that taxi drivers would lose their livelihood.

    Ben is correct: JFK is THE prestige destination for foreign travelers arriving in the New York area. Yes, WE know...

    Viz. LGA/JFK/EWR, a few hours ago I was reflecting on how corrupt NY politics is. Why? Because there is no rail loop between the three airports. Wouldn't it make sense to connect them? Of course it would! My understanding is the reason there is no rail loop is that taxi drivers would lose their livelihood.

    Ben is correct: JFK is THE prestige destination for foreign travelers arriving in the New York area. Yes, WE know it's heroically dysfunctional. But to many non-Yanks, arriving at JFK is on par with saying you've visited the Statue of Liberty.

    You bet QANTAS will be watching this closely, because ANZ's doing their hard market research for them. They'll base the decision about when and even if to go ahead with Project Sunrise after AUK - JFK's been up and running for awhile.

  2. red_robbo Guest

    Who on earth (presumably someone in ANZ's marketing department) thought that using a fisheye lens photo of the business cabin would be a good idea to show off the product?
    Dreadful.

    1. Steven Guest

      Almost makes it look like chicken coups in there!

  3. David G Guest

    As a lifelong New Yorker, I can confirm that “prestige” and “New York airports” don’t go in the same sentence! And airlines don’t choose routes based on some oblique prestige. It would certainly appear that Newark should have been the choice, based on the United connection. But, who knows, maybe the available time slots or gate space at Newark weren’t optimal.

  4. gideyup11 New Member

    Re: why JFK and not EWR: This could be because AZ will fly 3X/week to ORD, 3X/week to JFK, and route UA connecting traffic thru ORD. Chicago is much better for connecting traffic geographically anyways. Asian airlines (NH, JL, OZ, KE and others), do this already.

    1. gideyup11 New Member

      Just one more comment... NYC is an O&D market, pure and simple. It has too much premium traffic (and too much pax traffic in general!) for int'l airlines to route connecting pax. I speak as someone who (1) lived f/t in NYC and still flies int'lly thru NYC frequently and (2) worked in the airline co-brand industry and few years ago heard Doug Parker speak at an analyst meeting about PHL/CLT/JFK as 3 AA hubs...

      Just one more comment... NYC is an O&D market, pure and simple. It has too much premium traffic (and too much pax traffic in general!) for int'l airlines to route connecting pax. I speak as someone who (1) lived f/t in NYC and still flies int'lly thru NYC frequently and (2) worked in the airline co-brand industry and few years ago heard Doug Parker speak at an analyst meeting about PHL/CLT/JFK as 3 AA hubs serving different purposes: JFK is premium and for O&D traffic while PHL/CLT are their East Coast hubs for connecting traffic to Europe.

    2. Mike C Gold

      This!

      Air NZ have announced that at about the same time they will resume non-stops to ORD and IAH. As others have said, they fly non-stop to AKL from several Australian cities, a connection to those US flights will be attractive, as would a one or two day stop-over in AKL.

    3. Lune Member

      This makes a lot of sense. Pretty much any point in the US aside from New England would be a backtrack from NYC. Which means it makes much more sense to route connecting pax through ORD / IAH / LAX.

      But I'm still curious why not EWR... I've recently moved to Manhattan, and it seems that it's quicker to EWR vs JFK from the UWS, and probably no more than an extra 10 minutes if...

      This makes a lot of sense. Pretty much any point in the US aside from New England would be a backtrack from NYC. Which means it makes much more sense to route connecting pax through ORD / IAH / LAX.

      But I'm still curious why not EWR... I've recently moved to Manhattan, and it seems that it's quicker to EWR vs JFK from the UWS, and probably no more than an extra 10 minutes if going from the UES. I get that JFK has the historical pedigree and cachet of once being the nation's premier international gateway. But EWR is equally convenient to Manhattan. And quite frankly, both airports are kinda dumpy at this point so I really don't get this fascination with JFK over EWR. Ironically, after the new renovation, LGA looks fantastic compared to the other 2 airports.

  5. Jason Guest

    This flight will mostly be filled by New York area people going to and from Australia. Air New Zealand offers great easy connectivity at Auckland to all the big Australian cities. Air New Zealand will aggressively chase that traffic.

  6. Max Guest

    These people in NZ been lock up for too long, don’t think this will get off the ground as the airline got problems with 787 paint, don’t have enough equipment to cover their existing routes trying to cover the world with hand few of 787s, NZ govt now rules the airline with bailouts they are broke, fares will have to be 3 times more than a connecting flight thru California.

  7. Roscoe Guest

    Air NZ Business class seats are all wrong - they should be facing towards the window and not towards the
    aisle. Having travelled on the B777 in Business class I found it very intrusive and being rather tall my feet hung over the end of the seat thus in the way of the crew and the other passengers walking past. Sorry but would not select that product again.

  8. kimshep Guest

    @Lucky,

    I fail to see how you consider that "the flight is well-timed" for connections in both directions? Clearly, with a 7:55-8:00pm arrival time into JFK, passengers will need to collect luggage and clear international US Customs and Immigration at JFK. I would estimate that at up to .a good one and a half hours on average. factoring in MCT. That would put your *first* connection opportunity at 9:30pm, provided there is a scheduled connection...

    @Lucky,

    I fail to see how you consider that "the flight is well-timed" for connections in both directions? Clearly, with a 7:55-8:00pm arrival time into JFK, passengers will need to collect luggage and clear international US Customs and Immigration at JFK. I would estimate that at up to .a good one and a half hours on average. factoring in MCT. That would put your *first* connection opportunity at 9:30pm, provided there is a scheduled connection available at that time. Any delay on the 8:00pm arrival time would only accentuate this point further.

    As mentioned, UAL (NZ's Star partner) operates effectively nothing out of JFK. So, if you need to transfer to LGA or EWR for domestic connections, I would be choosing to overnight in NYC, particularly after a 16.5hr flight.

  9. Venkat Guest

    Sorry, Newark would have made far more sense. Getting from JFK to anywhere in NYC is another 1 hour minimum - airlines had the “JFK superiority “ attitude 30 years back, but that changed dramatically with many airlines adding Newark to their routes. I wonder why the folks of Air NZ had this thinking - after all, t airlines classify the flights at New York -Newark, instead of Nee York -JFK.

  10. Steven E Guest

    When will you all stop using the term “direct” for non stop flights !!! As far as NZ is concerned I e flown them many times and the soft product is fantastic but those seats in business - no way ! and especially on their new “ flagship route” - and teaming up with the worst carrier out of Newark - having just travelled with them from SYD to LA - return -I would never...

    When will you all stop using the term “direct” for non stop flights !!! As far as NZ is concerned I e flown them many times and the soft product is fantastic but those seats in business - no way ! and especially on their new “ flagship route” - and teaming up with the worst carrier out of Newark - having just travelled with them from SYD to LA - return -I would never fly them again it was like lying on the floor at a McDonalds - and it was business - Polaris !! Pffft and the rudest crews ever

    1. glenn t Diamond

      Agree witk Steven E regarging those Business seats! Who wants to sit in sardine-in-a-tin formation for 16+ hours with zero privacy and room to move? Won't be me, that's for sure! Any one with mobility issues are virtually trapped in those ridiculous seats.
      Whoever ticked off that seat design should be fired, if they haven't alreadt moved on.

    2. Clem Diamond

      I mean... Some people will be flying I'm coach and THAT will be tough on such a long route.

  11. Jeff Guest

    I would burn every one of my Amex points to fly this route. Truly can't wait.

  12. Terry Guest

    I flew ANZ in that J seat. The one I flew you had to stand up and flip the back of the seat forward to make it into a bed. I didn't like that concept.

  13. Chasgoose Guest

    I don’t really think JFK’s lack of connectivity is that big of a concern for NZ. They already fly to most of UA’s hubs and I imagine the amount of destinations only served by UA at EWR is relatively small and almost certainly mostly very small destinations (perhaps mostly EAS ones). There’s just not enough of a market for the connectivity to make a big difference in terms of choosing between EWR/JFK. Also, given that...

    I don’t really think JFK’s lack of connectivity is that big of a concern for NZ. They already fly to most of UA’s hubs and I imagine the amount of destinations only served by UA at EWR is relatively small and almost certainly mostly very small destinations (perhaps mostly EAS ones). There’s just not enough of a market for the connectivity to make a big difference in terms of choosing between EWR/JFK. Also, given that it would likely land at Terminal B at EWR, it’s not like it can really take advantage of the Polaris Lounge or something.

    Also to the argument that no one wants to fly into JFK over EWR, that’s really only true for frequent travelers to NYC who want to go to Manhattan, Staten Island, or North Jersey. The Bronx is equidistant, and Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester County, and Fairfield County all are closer to JFK. So while Manhattan is the likely destination of most people coming from New Zealand to New York, far more people who live in the area live closer to JFK. Also, while it might seem silly, the ability to say you are flying to New York as opposed to New Jersey matters. Even in the US, but especially abroad, flying into JFK is important from a marketing perspective.

    1. Sam Guest

      Well, loooooots of people live in NJ. I'm not so sure that more people live in Long Island, Westchester, and Fairfield, than in NJ.

      Regarding connectivity: even if your destination is a city also served from SFO or LAX (e.g. BOS), there is still a big advantage to spending 16 hrs in a flat bed and 45 mins in a domestic seat, compared to 6 hours in one.

    2. guest Guest

      New Jersey has 8 million people, Long Island has 8 million. there isn't too much difference - unless you also count Westchester (1m) and Fairfield (950k).

    3. Chasgoose Guest

      I know a ton of people live in NJ, but the other suburbs, when combined with Brooklyn and Queens, which are a lot bigger than Manhattan, give JFK definitely has a bigger catchment area than EWR locally. Also NZ flies to ORD, which is maybe an hour to an hour and a half further away from Boston than EWR/JFK by plane.

  14. guest Guest

    Surprised to see so many economy seats. Sounds like an awful way to spend 16+ hours. I thought they'd go with a layout more similar to Singapore's A350 UL.

  15. Dave Guest

    Note that it's a 275-seat aircraft, not 288-seat. The Skycouches are included in the economy seat count, not extra.

    1. Dave Guest

      Seat config in the post still isn't quite right. There are 215 economy seats, not 202. A Skycouch is made up of three economy seats (not one) - but these are already counted in the 215 seats.

  16. Maurice Danaher Guest

    I can’t wait , wonderful.
    I have family in NY .
    I live in MEL and also have family in Auckland
    It’s a dream come true ,
    Thanks AIR NZ

  17. Willem Guest

    Only in the USA (and New York especially, pre-LGA-glam-up) could JFK be considered the "prestigious" airport of a group... ugh

    1. John Guest

      @Willem

      Yes. Sad when a pile like JFK is considered "prestigious". My best friend still occasionally jokes about a text I sent the first time I landed at JFK circa. 2013 and was waiting for a cab - "JFK IS WORSE THAN THIRD WORLD AIRPORTS!" - I forgot that message, but he vividly remembers because it woke him at 3am. As the old saying goes "First impressions are usually correct". JFK is changing a little, but still lags far behind the prestigious city it serves.

    2. MaxPower Guest

      Fair Point in the Terminal where NZ will likely fly in at JFK... there are newer terminals at JFK. ANZ just won't be flying to them or landing at them. but it's a product of their partners and basically zero meaningful domestic US3 presence of Star at JFK unlike SkyTeam and Oneworld. #staralliance

      If Newark is your star performer in the New York area, let me tell you about a state called New Jersey and...

      Fair Point in the Terminal where NZ will likely fly in at JFK... there are newer terminals at JFK. ANZ just won't be flying to them or landing at them. but it's a product of their partners and basically zero meaningful domestic US3 presence of Star at JFK unlike SkyTeam and Oneworld. #staralliance

      If Newark is your star performer in the New York area, let me tell you about a state called New Jersey and your glamorous journey from Newark to Manhattan via train or car. It might be the saddest trip of post-industrial life you'll ever experience. There's a reason so much of that ride is on elevated roadways so you see as little of new jersey and abandoned warehouses as possible.

  18. Robert Stone Guest

    As such a seasoned traveler, I'm surprised to see you saying that choosing JFK means that the flight is 'direct' to New York whereas I guess you think that wouldn't be the case for flights into EWR? Whilst EWR might be in a different state, it's closer to Manhattan and it's far more convenient and faster to get to both midtown and downtown Manhattan from EWR than it is from JFK, unless you're commuting by...

    As such a seasoned traveler, I'm surprised to see you saying that choosing JFK means that the flight is 'direct' to New York whereas I guess you think that wouldn't be the case for flights into EWR? Whilst EWR might be in a different state, it's closer to Manhattan and it's far more convenient and faster to get to both midtown and downtown Manhattan from EWR than it is from JFK, unless you're commuting by helicopter. With that in mind and the United codeshare partnership, it's truly extremely surprising that they have selected JFK.

    1. pstm91 Diamond

      I always see people argue this but it really depends if you need to get to the East side or West side. If taking public transportation, then you need to exit from or transfer at Penn Station when coming from EWR - no thank you. I much prefer the airtrain to the express E train from JFK and it's only slightly longer than coming from EWR into Manhattan, generally speaking. Again, convenience for both depends on which side of town you need to end up in.

    2. Santos Guest

      I mean the E swings around via Midtown East over to 8th Ave, so no matter the side of Manhattan, I think JFK is always the better bet. By car or rail, tunnel shenanigans on the Hudson crossings are always an X factor I wouldn't want to deal with.

      Anyways, with so few workers in offices these days, getting from JFK to Midtown by cab isn't bad at all. I did it in about...

      I mean the E swings around via Midtown East over to 8th Ave, so no matter the side of Manhattan, I think JFK is always the better bet. By car or rail, tunnel shenanigans on the Hudson crossings are always an X factor I wouldn't want to deal with.

      Anyways, with so few workers in offices these days, getting from JFK to Midtown by cab isn't bad at all. I did it in about 35 minutes around 6:30pm a couple weeks ago. The Van Wyck is the biggest slowdown but that's always the case, even late at night.

    3. LarryInNYC Diamond

      While it's pointless to debate the merits of the two airports (hint: they both suck), it's certainly true that EWR is a "New York" airport as much as JFK. And LGA more than either of them.

  19. S Member

    Must be a prestige thing to pick JFK, because as far as I know, EWR isn't any further than JFK for people in Manhattan by train or car. I suppose it's also possible JFK was picked because of the Long Island population that would use JFK over EWR. Seems like a missed opportunity though to not pick EWR.

    1. Kiwi Member

      In part because no NZer I know searches for EWR when traveling to NY everyone always searches JFK.

    2. S Member

      Could be resolved by having it as "New York-Newark" in the search engine. Do most people outside the US really even know Newark?

    3. Chasgoose Guest

      It’s not just Long Island. JFK is closer to Brooklyn and Queens (each of which have a lot more people than Manhattan) and the wealthy suburbs in Westchester and Fairfield Counties in NY and CT, respectively, and even New Haven. Even some parts of Manhattan, like the Upper East Side, are equidistant if not closer to JFK.

      So while EWR might be better for people coming to New York from New Zealand, who presumably...

      It’s not just Long Island. JFK is closer to Brooklyn and Queens (each of which have a lot more people than Manhattan) and the wealthy suburbs in Westchester and Fairfield Counties in NY and CT, respectively, and even New Haven. Even some parts of Manhattan, like the Upper East Side, are equidistant if not closer to JFK.

      So while EWR might be better for people coming to New York from New Zealand, who presumably mostly want to go to Manhattan, JFK is better for a lot more people who want to go to New Zealand from the New York area. The thing is a lot of the people coming to New York might not realize EWR is closer to most of Manhattan and from a marketing perspective people want to fly to “New York” not “New Jersey.”

    4. S Member

      True about the rich suburbs like Westchester, but as for the NYC boroughs, I feel like Manhattan's demand for this would greatly outpace Queens and Brooklyn, especially Queens. Even then, most people would probably be willing to travel a little longer for a direct to NZ than not. I am just surprised I guess they didn't do EWR for the UA connections but I assume they did the analysis on it and decided JFK is better.

    5. Sam Guest

      They're gaining gaining Long Island, but losing New Jersey. I think 6 = 1/2 dozen here.

  20. Mak Guest

    I would have thought this would be a longer block time. Materially shorter than SIN-JFK.

    1. Alonzo Diamond

      Why no plane with first class?

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Because NZ doesn't offer an international F product, and even among carriers that do (SQ, some CX) they often exclude it from their longest nonstops due to the unnecessary additional weight of the huge F seats/suites.

    3. Canadian Platinum Guest

      Air New Zealand doesn't have first class.

    4. Michael Guest

      Air New Zealand doesn’t have first class

  21. Clem Diamond

    This is really great news! Curious to see what prices will be like, since we can probably expect premium award availability to be non existent.

  22. Tahsin Guest

    Happy they chose JFK over EWR!

  23. AJO Guest

    Also noteworthy to mention that in the past, NZ1 and 2 were AKL-LAX-LHR and back respectively.

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gideyup11 New Member

Re: why JFK and not EWR: This could be because AZ will fly 3X/week to ORD, 3X/week to JFK, and route UA connecting traffic thru ORD. Chicago is much better for connecting traffic geographically anyways. Asian airlines (NH, JL, OZ, KE and others), do this already.

3
Robert Stone Guest

As such a seasoned traveler, I'm surprised to see you saying that choosing JFK means that the flight is 'direct' to New York whereas I guess you think that wouldn't be the case for flights into EWR? Whilst EWR might be in a different state, it's closer to Manhattan and it's far more convenient and faster to get to both midtown and downtown Manhattan from EWR than it is from JFK, unless you're commuting by helicopter. With that in mind and the United codeshare partnership, it's truly extremely surprising that they have selected JFK.

2
Mike C Gold

This! Air NZ have announced that at about the same time they will resume non-stops to ORD and IAH. As others have said, they fly non-stop to AKL from several Australian cities, a connection to those US flights will be attractive, as would a one or two day stop-over in AKL.

1
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