New Zealand tourism has been given a major boost with this morning’s announcement (11 Nov) American Airlines will launch daily Los Angeles-Auckland flights in June 2016.
The route will be operated by American’s new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft and will be operated in conjunction with Qantas as a codeshare partner.
“Auckland is a thriving destination for business and leisure travelers, and it adds to the growing strength of our global network across the Pacific,” said Doug Parker, American’s chairman and CEO.
“We know tourism is an important industry for New Zealand and our new service will provide greater access for more American travellers to visit and appreciate all the country has to offer. Our 100,000 employees are excited to be the first U.S. carrier to offer a truly premium experience between Los Angeles and Auckland.”
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said the new Auckland-Los Angeles service, which will codeshare with Qantas, would join together networks on two continents.
“Customers can fly to more than 150 US destinations with American Airlines and more than 70 destinations across Australia and New Zealand with the Qantas Group and we’re very pleased to now be adding this new route to the list,” he said.
“American’s new non-stop Auckland-Los Angeles service is supported by Jetstar’s domestic connections to eleven destinations within New Zealand and Qantas Group’s nearly 40 daily flights to Australia.
“When you join our great networks with our new service, customers will be able to fly from Dunedin to Disneyland, Napier to New Orleans and Wellington to Washington,” Joyce said.
The two CEOs met earlier today (Nov 11) with New Zealand Prime Minster John Key and Transport Minister Simon Bridges to present details of American’s planned service.
“This new service will give more choice and lower fares for travellers on the Auckland-Los Angeles route. Los Angeles is New Zealand’s main gateway to the United States,” Bridges said.
“This new service will help make Los Angeles and the wider United States more affordable and accessible for Kiwi travellers.
“The alliance means passengers can now book a single ticket for connecting flights from New Zealand centres, serviced by Jetstar, to dozens of American Airlines’ destinations throughout North America.
“Given American Airlines’ extensive domestic network in the United States, the alliance also means New Zealand will be a more attractive destination for Americans than ever before,” Bridges said.
The alliance follows a recent announcement from United Airlines, which will start a direct service between San Francisco and Auckland in July 2016.
“It’s great to see airlines responding to the strong demand for travel between New Zealand and the USA. The increased competition can only be good news for consumers,” he said.
“The new services will bring more North American visitors to New Zealand. The USA is New Zealand’s third largest tourism market. So far this year, more than 230,000 US visitors travelled to New Zealand — an increase of 11.1 per cent over 2014,” says Mr Bridges.
The American Airlines aircraft is configured with 28 fully lie-flat Business Class seats, each with direct-aisle access. There are an additional 55 Main Cabin Extra seats with extra legroom, and 143 Main Cabin seats.
The flight is a part of American’s expanding joint business with Qantas, which remains subject to regulatory approvals.
Earlier this year, the two airlines announced increased flight options as a part of this strategic partnership between the U.S. and Sydney Airport.
Starting this December, American will launch a new nonstop flight from LAX and Qantas will add a new flight from San Francisco International Airport.