LONDON – American Airlines has this week announced significant route announcements regarding its presence in New Zealand.
The new announcements, first of all, mean that American become the first U.S carrier to fly to the South Islands of the country.
Services between Dallas Fort-Worth and Auckland will commence on October 25 next year through to March 25, 2021 on a three times per week basis.
The flight will depart Dallas at 2230L, before arriving into Auckland at 0740L+2. Services will commence daily on December 1.
The return will then depart at 1115L, before arriving back into Dallas at 0710L.
This service will operate with the carrier’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which will offer 30 seats in Business, 21 in Premium Economy and 232 in Economy.
This particular service will join the already operating Los Angeles to Auckland route, which operates seasonally.
The second significant route announcement is between Los Angeles and Christchurch.
This service will run three times per week between October 25 next year and March 24, 2021.
Aircraft of use for this service will be the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, offering 20 seats in Business, 28 in Premium Economy as well as 186 seats in Economy.
The service will depart Los Angeles at 2330L before arriving into Christchurch at 0925L.
The return will then depart at 1310L, before arriving back into Los Angeles at 0600L.
Commenting on Christchurch was Vasu Raja, American’s Senior VP of Network Strategy who emphasised the reasoning for this new route.
“The South Island sums up everything that our customers are looking for in New Zealand — adventure, culture and wildlife found nowhere else”.
“We want to make their lifelong dreams a reality and bring New Zealand’s beauty even closer as the gateway to the South Island where you can drive, hike, cruise and fly to a variety of classic New Zealand experiences”, he added.
Raja also added that with the DFW service, in particular, passengers can fly all the way to the likes of Louisville, Savannah or Monterrey with one-stop-all the way from New Zealand.
Is this in response to Air New Zealand’s route changes?
It could be suggested that with Air New Zealand’s recent route changes, this is American Airlines capitalising on that.
Air New Zealand will be axing one of its most historical routes after 36 years of operation. The airline will no longer operate its ANZ001 daily service from Auckland to London (via Los Angeles) in October 2020, giving way to the airline’s new ambitious nonstop service to Newark.
In recent years, Air New Zealand has operated the Auckland – Los Angeles – London service with its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. However, the new route to Newark will be operated with the much newer and more fuel-efficient 787-9 Dreamliner.
This now means the market in the likes of Los Angeles has drastically become free when it comes to services to New Zealand.
With that, it means that American can boost its revenues out of the Oceanic region, especially with the services to Auckland and Christchurch obviously showing some level of demand for the carrier.
On the Air New Zealand front, we could potentially see some more codesharing arrangements with American and others in order to keep its American presence up in the wake of a destination change.
Only time will tell whether other carriers such as Delta or United will aim to get involved with this new piece of the market. If so, it will be a matter of time into when they choose to announce such services.