Air New Zealand has announced it will axe its daily Los Angeles-London service from October 2020 and instead fly the 14,179km direct route from Auckland to New York.

The national carrier’s acting chief executive officer Jeff McDowall said that while it was difficult to farewell the London route, the airline must focus on the best opportunities for long-term profitable growth.

“Air New Zealand is strongest when operating direct flights to and from our home base and this reset will put us in the best possible position to take advantage of the increasing demand across the Pacific Rim,”

Jeff McDowall, Air New Zealand acting chief executive officer

The New York service, which will be three times weekly, all year round, will launch in October 2020 and will use the company’s 787-9 Dreamliner.

The flight from Auckland to New York will be a similar distance to flights from Auckland to Dubai. Emirates’ non-stop flights from Auckland to Dubai take just over 17 hours on an Airbus A380-800.

 

Change is in the air

Karry On - Air New Zealand Auckland New York

Sadly, the withdrawal will see the disestablishment of around 130 staff and crew, including around 25 roles in the Hammersmith sales office and ground team.

The union representing aviation workers claims some crew found out while in the sky, halfway to LA.

“We will be working with our people and their union to help with the next steps in their career, including looking at opportunities in other areas of the airline.”

Jeff McDowall, Air New Zealand acting chief executive officer

Air New Zealand has been flying the LA-London route since 1982, but McDowall said consumer choices had changed over the years.

“Today Kiwis have more than twice the number of ways to fly to London than a decade ago and preferences have changed. Less than seven percent of all airline travellers between Auckland and London chose to fly via Los Angeles last year.”

The national carrier used to also fly into London through Hong Kong, but that service ended in 2013.

“We fully expect customers will want to take advantage of the many connection options on our partner networks through Air New Zealand’s gateways in Asia and the Americas, including New York. It’s important to us that customers continue to enjoy a seamless journey, and we’ll be working closely with our partners to ensure the best experience and benefits for travellers,”

Jeff McDowall, Air New Zealand acting chief executive officer

Tickets for Air New Zealand’s New York service will go on sale soon, subject to regulatory approvals and landing slot confirmation.