Air New Zealand has launched the world’s fourth longest non-stop flight connecting Aukland with New York.
Air New Zealand has launched its first route connecting Auckland, New Zealand, and New York City, US. Earlier today, the inaugural flight took to the skies from Auckland Airport (AKL). The Boeing 787 Dreamliner will remain airborne for an estimated 16 hours and 15 minutes before its wheels touch down on the US eastern seaboard. The return service is anticipated to take over an hour longer due to the difference in jet streams.
The flight will be the world's fourth-longest flight. However, it trails closely behind the record-holding route of Singapore to New York, which spends nearly 19 hours in the air. Air New Zealand has chosen the 787 for this route due to its long-range capabilities. It is also more fuel efficient than many traditional ultra-long-haul aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and 777.
The flight will be flown three times per week with fares starting at $1,400 for an economy one-way ticket. Business class seating starts at $8,500. It will carry 17 crew members consisting of four pilots and 13 flight attendants. It will have 275 listed available seats for the journey to New York. However, it won't be able to take as many people on the return trip due to the added flight time. The route will push the 787 to its limits meaning that every pound will count, especially on the longer leg.
The airline has mentioned how it may become a problem when passengers prepare to board a return flight but are denied seating due to the decreased weight capacity for the leg. Despite mentioning this concern, it has not stated how it will deal with this problem or if it is taking any actions to prevent it from occurring.
Air New Zealand attempted to connect the two cities on the same route two years ago. The route was to be flown on a 787 and operated three times per week, the same as its current schedule. It was scheduled to begin operations on October 29th, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down international travel, thus terminating the route before it launched.
The route will compete with several ultra-long-haul flights being launched by Qantas. Qantas is looking to open several direct routes connecting Australia and Europe as well as Australia with the US. The longest of these planned routes will be the Sydney to London route which will take 21 hours and cover over 10,000 miles of terrain.
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Air New Zealand has undergone financial difficulty like many airlines worldwide following the pandemic. It suffered significant losses during the border closures setting it back years financially. As air travel has resumed and demand has returned, many airlines have quickly recovered from the pandemic. Air New Zealand still struggles to turn a profit even with this increase in demand. The airline reported that it has lost nearly $725 million throughout 2022. It hopes expanding further into the US market will help it recover from the substantial losses.
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Source: 1 News