Air New Zealand launching first New York flight: Travel Weekly

Air New Zealand plans to begin the first nonstop service between New York and New Zealand on Sept. 17. 

The flight, which will launch a few months after New Zealand’s planned May 2 reopening to U.S. tourism, will operate three times per week between Auckland and JFK. 

“Traditionally, flight numbers 1 and 2 are used for an airline’s flagship route. And that’s what New York will be — our flagship route,” Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said in a prepared remark Tuesday. We’ve worked incredibly hard over the past few years to make this ultra-long-haul service a reality — it’s one of the longest routes in the world, at just over 16 hours northbound and 17-and-a-half hours southbound.”

The southbound route will be the fourth-longest in the world, Air New Zealand said. 

The launch of JFK service would come nearly two years after Air New Zealand had planned to begin flying to the New York area with service from Auckland to Newark. The service was to become the carrier’s sixth U.S. route in October 2020 before that plan was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Air New Zealand will use a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner equipped with 27 seats in business class, 33 in premium economy and 215 in economy. In addition, the aircraft will offer 13 Economy Skycouches, which are rows of three economy seats that convert into a short couch after takeoff. 

Air New Zealand was serving Los Angeles, Houston Bush Intercontinental, Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco and Honolulu nonstop from Auckland prior to the pandemic. With New Zealand imposing strict Covid travel policies, the carrier has thus far resumed only the Los Angeles route. 

The airline plans to reintroduce the other U.S. routes between April and October, according to Cirium schedule data. San Francisco will be first in mid-April, followed by Honolulu and Houston in July and Chicago in late September.

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