It’s been a long time since travelers itching to get to New Zealand have heard any good news. But now things are starting to look up: Air New Zealand recently announced that its first non-stop flight from Auckland to New York City will start on September 17, 2022.
The flight will utilize John F. Kennedy Airport — a slight change from the Newark, New Jersey, flight that was scheduled to start before the pandemic scuttled that plan. And what’s more, the routes will get flight numbers 1 and 2, which are typically used for an airline’s flagship routes.
“In the six years leading up to Covid, the US visitor numbers to New Zealand doubled and looking at the average spend in New Zealand by US tourists,” Greg Foran, Air New Zealand’s CEO, said in a statement. “We estimate that this new route would contribute an additional $65 million per year into the local economy. 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 will use a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which holds about 300 passengers (27 business class seats, 33 premium economy seats, and 215 economy seats, to be exact). It’s a 16 hour flight to New York and a 17 and a half hour flight to New Zealand, so comfort is key here, which makes the Dreamliner’s smooth-flying, relatively spacious and quiet cabin with decked-out entertainment a good fit.
It’s the first non-stop flight from the East Coast of the United States to the South Pacific. It will also be the fourth-longest flight in the world, joining direct flights like LA to Singapore (17 hours), Dallas to Sydney (17 hours and 15 minutes), and New York to Singapore (a whopping 19 hours).
“New York is an iconic yet familiar city, a bucket list item,” Foran said. “And now for the first time, Kiwis can visit the city of all cities with a non-stop flight. New Zealand lets you slow down – in New York, everything is bigger and faster, it’s exciting and awe inspiring – and it’s now closer than ever.”
New York will be the seventh destination in North America with a non-stop flight to New Zealand. Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver are the others.
In addition to the added flight, Air New Zealand strengthened its partnership with United Airlines to connect to domestic destinations in the US and Canada.