Air New Zealand confirmed its strategy re-think announced last Spring and will concentrate more on the North American market. On October 23, the airline said it will open a new direct route from Auckland to New York Newark in 2020. ANZ will drop its Auckland-Los-Angeles-London Heathrow route after 38 years of operations.
At its Investor Day in May, Air New Zealand already said that future network plans for 2021 and 2022 would focus on four markets: Australia, Asia, South America, and North America. New routes include Christchurch-Singapore, Auckland-Taipei, and Auckland-Seoul (from this November).
It already operates to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago. To this, New York will be added from October 2020. While HY2-2019 bookings were softer than expected earlier this year, Air New Zealand has seen increasing growth to North America since opening its Auckland-Chicago service. It has high expectations of adding New York to the schedule.
At 14.178 kilometers, Auckland-New York will become the longest non-stop flight in ANZ’s roster, with a northbound flying time of 15 hours and 40 minutes and a southbound return leg two hours longer. A Boeing 787-9 with 275 seats and proportionally more Business Premier and Premium Economy seats will operate on this route.
ANZ network as of Summer 2019.
As it concentrates more on Asia and the America’s, Air New Zealand had to think hard what to do with its only European route to Heathrow. It decided to shelve the route to free up aircraft capacity for New York but also concluded that it isn’t in a position to compete successfully on the LA-London route.
“The Atlantic has become one of the most hotly contested routes in the world and Air New Zealand lacks the home market advantages and scale of the North American and European airlines we’re up against”, acting CEO Jeff McDowall said. Add to this the different landscape compared to when the London-route was opened in 1982, and New Zealanders have much more options to go there now. ANZ continues to offer tickets to London, but through their partners’ networks (especially United). It will retain a sales, marketing and cargo presence in London but close its Hammersmith office.