Air New Zealand Will Fly Nonstop to NYC Newark from Auckland Starting October 2020, But Will Cut LAX-London. The route will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which has a longer range than the eight 787-10 aircraft that Air New Zealand has ordered.
Air New Zealand Business Class on the 787-9 that will be used for this route offers 27 flat bed seats in a 1-1-1 configuration across 9 rows, with direct aisle access for each seat. I recommend the A seats on the left, since there's less aisle traffic; J and K seats use the same aisle. There are also 33 Premium Economy and 215 Economy seats, but given that it's a nearly 16 hour eastbound and nearly 18 hour westbound flight, I highly recommend reserving business class. The exact schedule for the flights hasn't been announced yet.
While Newark EWR is perhaps not what Manhattanites on the east side of NYC would like, it's not surprising that it's where Air New Zealand will fly, since it connects up with its joint venture and Star Alliance partner United Airlines, whose hub is EWR (United Airlines doesn't operate any flights from JFK, and only a few flights out of LGA, to Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, and Washington Dulles).
The U.S. accounts for over 9% of visitors to New Zealand, the third highest after Australia (nearly 40%, as expected, given its proximity) and China (~12%), and visitor growth from the U.S. is increasing ~7% annually. Importantly, the U.S. is a key source of premium passengers, who reserve business class, and Air New Zealand carries 45% of all visitors arriving to New Zealand. Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon has even been quoted as saying, “We don’t want to become a Cancun or a Bali but a Switzerland,” in reference to the wealthier visitors Switzerland attracts.
Air New Zealand New Business Class Seat
Air New Zealand is working on its next generation new business class seat, which will debut in late 2022 when the first of the 787-10 aircraft join the fleet. Frequent flyers have been brought to the project's headquarters, “Hangar 22” in downtown Auckland, to provide input on new business class seat concepts, as Air New Zealand works to determine how it will balance space, privacy and storage for the new seats. Luxon has said “we think there is an opportunity to move to a more premium product,” which bodes well for an improved business class product.
Once the new business class seat for the 787-10 is decided on, it will be rolled out fleet-wide, to ensure a consistent product.
Air New Zealand Cutting LAX-London LHR Route in October 2020
Unfortunately, as part of the decision to start the new Auckland-New York EWR flight, Air New Zealand is cutting its fifth freedom Los Angeles to London flight. Air New Zealand has seen more competition in 1-stop options between New Zealand the London over the past few years, with the growth of Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, and given how much more modern and efficient airports such as Singapore and Doha are compared with LAX, it's not surprising that passengers would choose these options.
Still, given how frequently I've booked Air New Zealand business class from LAX-London for some of my LA-based business clients, I (and they) are sad to see this route disappear.
What are your thoughts on the new Air New Zealand Auckland to Newark flight starting in October 2020?
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