On September 17, Air New Zealand’s first direct flight from Auckland to New York City arrived at JFK airport after a 16-hour flight.
The flight, NZ2, was announced in March and has been a major part of the airline’s post-pandemic recovery. Its companion flight, NZ1, takes about 17.5 hours to fly from JFK to Auckland.
As one of the world’s greatest cities, Air New Zealand is proud to add the Big Apple to its list of 29 international destinations.Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran
The airline’s desire to secure a JFK slot was never hidden.
Foran stated when the flights were announced earlier in 2022 “Flight numbers 1 and 2 are traditionally used for an airline’s flagship route. And that is exactly what New York will be: our flagship route.”
In addition to New York, Air New Zealand serves five other US cities, including San Francisco and Honolulu.
Because New York is the airline’s first (and currently only) direct flight to the east coast, passengers from New Zealand will find it easier to connect to North American and European hub cities.
Everything on board was designed to make the inaugural journey feel special.
Meals on board included New Zealand meats, wines, and produce, such as paua saucisson (abalone sausage), which made its airline debut.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Foran was on board and assisted with meal service to passengers in the premium economy and economy cabins. Passengers reportedly applauded when the 787-9 Dreamliner landed.
Some New Zealand notables were on board the flight, including Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and former Prime Minister Helen Clark. Jacinda Arden, the current prime minister, was reportedly planning to join but had to cancel due to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London.
Over the weekend, however, there was one unexpected twist.
Some passengers on the NZ1 flight from New York to Auckland discovered that their bags had not arrived with them.
In the race for the world’s longest passenger flight, Air New Zealand faces stiff competition.
Singapore Airlines currently operates the world’s two longest flights, one between Singapore and New York’s JFK Airport and the other between Singapore and Newark International Airport. The former travels 9,534 miles and spends approximately 18 hours in the air.
Qantas, based in Australia, is one of ANZ’s main competitors, and the airline refuses to be left out of the equation when it comes to long flights. In December, it will begin a long-haul flight from Melbourne to Dallas.
Qantas took an important step this year toward launching Project Sunrise, its long-awaited goal of establishing direct flights between Australia and the cities of New York and London.
The airline ordered 12 Airbus A350-1000 planes, with the hope of starting ultra-long-haul routes in 2025. These flights will exceed 19 hours, making them the world’s longest nonstop flights.