MIAMI – The world’s second-longest flight from Auckland (AKL) to New York (EWR) operated by Air New Zealand (NZ) was supposed to have taken off back in 2020 but it was another casualty of the pandemic and the program was brought to a halt.

A year through, the airline is currently working towards getting this route operational as early as 2022.

The Auckland – New York flight covers an extremely long distance of around 14,000km with an average flight time of 18 hours and is yet second to Qantas’ Perth – London direct.

Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand states, “We absolutely will be getting back to direct [nonstop] flights to New York. We see North America as being critical to our international business and are very keen to get that operating as soon as we can. We think that will generate some pretty good demand.”

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9. Photo: Yifei Yu/Airways

Aircraft to Be Used

The carrier will use its Boeing 787-9 aircraft on this route but will modify its cabin to cater more to business class and premium economy, reducing cabin weight and increasing revenue per seat.

Flight number NZ1 will be used for the outbound leg and NZ2 on the inbound leg home.

A redone Boeing 787-9 cabin will provide passengers an airy and spacious experience for the long ride. The flight will cut down several hours in an otherwise stopover option at US west coast cities like LAX and SFO before heading to New York.

Foran further states that his team is already working to “pull together all the flight plans, details, weights and weather conditions.”

The airline is also undergoing a fleet renewal program to retire all its Boeing 777s and maintain a sole Dreamliner fleet.

Featured image: Air New Zeland Boeing 787-9. Photo: James Kirkland/Airways