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Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon has reaffirmed that he is looking to add nonstop service between Auckland and New York. Per FlightGlobal, he recently stated that one of the airline’s big ambitions “is to land a flight from Auckland to New York,” noting that Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner would likely be the aircraft of choice to cover the nearly 9,000-mile journey.
Specifics beyond that were thin, though the report does mention a prospective launch window of 2022 to 2023. Luxon added: “The 787-9 could get there today, depending on how we configure it, so that’s a great starting point, and we’ll look at all the other options after that.”
If secured, the flight wouldn’t quite be the world’s longest (currently held by Singapore Airlines’ marathon route between Newark and Singapore), but it would best other long-haul heroes such as Delta’s 8,439-mile jaunt between Atlanta and Johannesburg and Philippine Airlines’ 8,519-mile flight between Manila and New York.
In addition to the 787-9 news, the airline recently signed a contract with Boeing for 8 extended-length Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners. It’s expected that those jets will replace the airline’s current 777-200ER fleet.
In the same investor day presentation, the airline also said it’s considering a new cabin class for passengers on long-haul flights. Per a Newsroom report, the new cabin class will fall between Air New Zealand’s current Economy and Premium Economy and be priced to match. It’s expected to be treated like Delta’s Comfort+, American’s Main Cabin Extra and United’s Economy Plus — essentially, an extra legroom version of standard coach seating.
Chief revenue officer Cam Wallace informed attendees that the new class of economy seat would “be at the front of the economy cabin, have slightly more legroom, [and] offer more Airpoints,” though he gave no indication of when passengers should expect to see it rolled out.
Interestingly, he also said that Air New Zealand is “investing heavily in machine-learning software not only to make better forecasts about future demand, but also to support ‘hyper-personalized’ marketing to the airline’s customers, with a view to individuals getting fare offers based on the data the airline holds about them.” That doesn’t sound too far from what Delta is implementing.
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Additional reporting by Darren Murph; featured Photo by Chad Slattery.
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