Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Tue March 03 2015

United, American Airlines Consider Adding Direct U.S.-New Zealand Routes

Airlines & Airports | United Airlines | Patrick Clarke | March 03, 2015

United, American Airlines Consider Adding Direct U.S.-New Zealand Routes

According to Jamie Freed of the Australian Financial Review, Air New Zealand could potentially face competition pertaining to its current monopoly on direct flights between New Zealand and mainland North America.

Freed points out that industry sources say that both United Airlines and American Airlines are considering launching non-stop routes between Auckland and major cities in California.

United is reportedly "weighing the potential" of an Auckland-San Francisco route, while American—which shares a Trans-Pacific business agreement with Australian carrier Qantas— is eyeing an Auckland-Los Angeles route, a route Qantas abandoned back in May 2012.

United's Auckland-San Francisco route would operate using a Boeing 787.

However, with neither airline offering up comments to back up the sources, it remains speculation at this point.

Most recently, United considered launching an Auckland-Houston route before deciding against it back in 2012.

Meanwhile, American's partnership with Qantas could be a significant factor in whether the potential route comes to fruition.

"Qantas is not believed to be interested in restarting Auckland-Los Angeles flights itself, but it is looking to grow in the New Zealand market and would benefit from joint venture partner American Airlines entering the route to further enhance its appeal," writes Freed.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce notes that the New Zealand market "is an extremely important market for us."

"It is the largest international market into Australia and that is why our second-largest frequent flyer base is there. Our frequent flyers are a key part of making sure we maintain our competitiveness in that market," added Joyce.

But regardless of whether either carrier enters into a non-stop Auckland route, Air New Zealand is seemingly ready to compete: "We are pretty prepared for that," said Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon via Freed. "I think with our financial position so strong we feel comfortable about our ability to respond to any competition."

Currently, Air New Zealand operates non-stop flights from Auckland to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. However, New Zealand's national airline could potentially add a fourth North American city to its resume this year.


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Discover Club Med All-Inclusive Vacations

Hotels & Resorts