The flight is scheduled to take roughly 18 hours, falling only 60 minutes short of Singapore Airlines’ current non-stop record for the longest flight between Singapore and New York.
Originally scheduled for October 29, 2020, the Auckland-New York flight was postponed due to the worldwide spread of Covid-19, but the bum-numbing route is now back on the map after a lengthy delay.
“The end of this calendar year, we will be ramping up more passenger flights to North America and looking forwards to starting up our direct service to New York City,” CEO Greg Foran said during the release of Air New Zealand’s half-yearly financial results.
It is expected that Qantas, give the formal go-ahead for its own ambitious Project Sunrise flights linking Sydney and Melbourne with New York, London, and Paris soon after Air New Zealand believes the non-stop flight will hold increased appeal to passengers looking to skip stopovers in the post-pandemic area.
For this 14,200-kilometer trip, the Boeing 787-9 will proudly carry the flight numbers NZ1/NZ2 and have a “premium-heavy” seat distribution that tilts the balance towards business and premium economy to generate more income with fewer people on board, respectively.
Planned flights to Newark Liberty International Airport, which serves as a hub for Star Alliance partner United Airlines, were originally scheduled to depart from Auckland three times per week in October 2020.
Air New Zealand’s all-new business class seating has been in development for several years, with carefully selected groups of Air New Zealand passengers – including many who regularly fly the airline’s longest routes – helping to trial the seats in a secure workshop dubbed ‘Hangar 22’ located near the airline’s Auckland headquarters.
Only one passenger — an Airpoints Elite member who goes to the US every month – talked highly of the seat, even though all participants were had to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Customers who booked front-row seats in Business Premier in late 2020 will have the opportunity to improve their experience, according to a poll put out by the Star Alliance member.
There would be extra legroom, shared dining and privacy in the new suites, which Air New Zealand has also suggested may be branded as the Business Premier Alcove or Retreat.
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