DALLAS – Air New Zealand’s (NZ) first nonstop flight to the Big Apple landed yesterday at New York’s JFK Airport at 4:15 p.m. local time.
New York was a destination the flag carrier had long wished to reach nonstop. Taking off from Auckland (AKL) using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, flight NZ2 lasted a little over 16 hours.
Before flying the first nonstop flight from Auckland to New York, Captain Phillip Kirk emphasized how important the new route was for the airline. “I’m incredibly excited,” Capt Kirk told AM on Wednesday morning. “It’s a huge thing -it’s a big, historic moment for Air NZ. A big step.”
The new flight will have a frequency of three times per week. It is the longest flight route for NZ and the fifth longest in the world, just behind Qantas’ (QF) Melbourne – Dallas and Emirates Dubai – Auckland.
The return flight from JFK to AKL bears the number NZ1. The numbers are traditionally reserved for the airline’s flagship routes.
The Perks of Arriving at JFK
In comparison to other US cities like Los Angeles, passengers have access to a significantly greater range of destinations from New York, all of which are just one more flight away. Additionally, compared to LAX, JFK enjoys a far higher reputation among travelers.
Having recently been a passenger passing through Los Angeles, Capt. Kirk noted via a newshub.co.nz report that it was a “fairly underwhelming experience.”
“I love Los Angeles [the city] but the airport experience is a tough one at times. So to be able to fly over Los Angeles and go direct to your destination, that’s what Air NZ is all about now.”
Additionally, the Captain notes that since travelers will arrive in New York at around 8 p.m., they will be more rested and prepared for the following day. In general, Air NZ flights to Los Angeles arrive closer to noon.
From a commercial standpoint, the New York route will play a significant role in NZ’s expansion and ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featured image: Air New Zealand ZK-NZN Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways