American Airlines plans to launch daily flights between Los Angeles and Auckland, New Zealand next summer.
The Fort Worth-based carrier said the new route is part of its growing Asia-Pacific network and will be part of its joint business agreement with Qantas Airways.
“This new route will mean greater choice for New Zealand travelers,” said American chief executive Doug Parker at a press conference in Auckland on Wednesday morning. “This is a growing route...As we add service we will bring more people to the market. The fact is the vast majority of the customers on the American Airlines flight will originate in the United States.”
The airline plans to use a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the route which has 28 lie-flat business class seats, 55 main cabin extra seats and 143 main cabin seats.
Starting in June, the flight will leave Los Angeles at 10:45 p.m. and arrive in Auckland at 6:35 a.m., two days later. The return flights departs Auckland at 1:20 p.m. and arrives at LAX at 6:30 a.m. on the same day.
It will compete against Air New Zealand which is the only airline currently offering nonstop service between the two cities.
American briefly flew between Dallas/Fort Worth and Auckland, with a stop in Honolulu, starting in 1990 but ended the service in 1991.
Parker said it was between Los Angeles or DFW for the new Auckland service but American chose Los Angeles because most of the travelers to New Zealand originate on the West Coast and the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner can’t fly the distance from DFW.
“We have [Boeing 787-]900s coming at the tail end of next year so we shall see,” Parker said about possibly launching a DFW to Auckland route. “We are going to start with LAX-Auckland and see how it develops.”
Earlier this year, American announced plans to launch service between Los Angeles and Sydney in December using a three-class Boeing 777-300ER. The route is also part of American’s joint business agreement with Qantas but it is still pending government approval.
American will have a Boeing 777-300 in Sydney later this week, showing it off to travelers in Australia to promote its upcoming Los Angeles-Sydney service.