Air New Zealand is accelerating its ambitions for North America and will launch a nonstop service between Auckland and New York using its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in October 2020.
To direct capacity to faster-growing markets, the airline has also made the difficult decision to withdraw from its daily Los Angeles-London service from October 2020.
Air New Zealand Acting Chief Executive Officer Jeff McDowall says while it’s hard to farewell such an iconic route, the airline must remain focused on markets with the greatest opportunity for long-term profitable growth.
Air New Zealand will fly between Auckland and its alliance partner United Airlines’ New York hub Newark Liberty International Airport three times weekly, year-round, using its latest configuration Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Los Angeles-London has been a flagship route for Air New Zealand and an important link connecting New Zealand and Europe since its launch in 1982, however Mr McDowall says market dynamics have affected performance in recent years.
Mr McDowall says the hardest aspect of the decision is the impact on Air New Zealand’s people who’ve worked incredibly hard to build the route and to achieve the highest customer satisfaction levels across the airline’s international network.
Los Angeles-London will operate as scheduled until October 2020 and no tickets have been sold beyond this date. Air New Zealand has chosen to announce the withdrawal more than a year in advance to allow time to support its people and to avoid any impact to customers booked to travel.
Europe, including the UK, remains a significant sales region for Air New Zealand. Currently more than two thirds of revenue generated by its London team is unrelated to the Atlantic route and the airline will retain a sales, marketing and cargo presence in London to serve this important market, including after the cessation of its Los Angeles-London service.