Air New Zealand Beats Qantas to the Punch, Launching New York Non-Stops Next Year

Qantas has garnered a ton of publicity for its ‘Project Sunrise’ media junket test flight, flying a group of people in business class non-stop New York JFK to Sydney and ‘testing’ what that means for their bodies.

  • It’s not much farther than Singapore’s Newark – Singapore flight that runs every day
  • The true ‘test of human endurance’ would be flying United San Francisco – Singapore in 9-abreast economy on their Boeing 787-9s

Air New Zealand doesn’t need a test flight or media hype. Auckland is slightly closer to the U.S. than Sydney. Their Chicago – Auckland flight is already in place (congratulations to everyone who got in on the business class mistake fare). And they’re launching Auckland – Newark in October 2020. That simultaneously,

  • Opens up the Northeast – New Zealand market for Air New Zealand on an efficient non-stop basis
  • Gives Air New Zealand access to United connecting traffic at Newark

    “Bayswater Marina Auckland New Zealand” by Bayswater marina, Creative Commons

They’re also dropping their London flying (from Los Angeles and Hong Kong) also in October 2020. Auckland – London is too far for them to fly non-stop, and one-stop connections between the two cities are a brutally competitive market. This will mean some job losses,

“Sadly, the withdrawal will see the disestablishment of our London cabin crew base of around 130 people and, subject to consultation, around 25 roles in our Hammersmith sales office and ground team. We will be working with our people and their union to help with the next steps in their career, including looking at opportunities in other areas of the airline.”

According to Air New Zealand’s acting CEO dropping London flying frees up aircraft for New York. The North America- New Zealand market is strong. And Chicago service is doing well. That puts a nail in my pet theory that the carrier should suspend airline operations to focus on its core safety video business.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hi Gary,

    I would like your advice: I signed up for an AA promotion for Executive Platinum status. To qualify, I need to get 1,570 EQD and 13,050 EQM by November 26, 2019. It has to be AA marketed flight so Cathay, BA, Iberia can operate it. What is the cheapest, simple way to do this? I am in NYC and have a flexible schedule!


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