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American Airlines eyes resumption of flights to New Zealand

In what may be a sign of hope about the future, American Airlines has scheduled flights to New Zealand. Starting December this year, the carrier will recommence services to Auckland and launch a brand-new route to Christchurch.

New Zealand resumption

Starting 16th December 2021, American Airlines will resume nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Auckland. The daily flight will be operated by a Boeing B787 Dreamliner. In fact, all of American’s New Zealand flights will be run by a B787.

Flight schedule of Los Angeles-Auckland-Los Angeles route:

  • Los Angeles-Auckland
  • Departure time: 23:15
  • Arrival time: 09:40 (+2 days)
  • Flight time: 13 hours and 25 minutes
  • Flight number: AA83
  • Frequency: Daily
  • Auckland-Los Angeles
  • Departure time: 14:45
  • Arrival time: 06:00
  • Flight time: 12 hours and 15 minutes
  • Flight number: AA82
  • Frequency: Daily
  • Note that this flight will begin on 18th December 2021

After the resumption of Los Angeles route, American will resume daily flights between Dallas Fort Worth and Auckland on 4th January 2022.

Flight schedule of Dallas-Auckland-Dallas route:

  • Dallas-Auckland
  • Departure time: 22:30
  • Arrival time: 08:40 (+2 days)
  • Flight time: 15 hours and 10 minutes
  • Flight number: AA35
  • Frequency: Daily
  • Auckland-Dallas
  • Departure time: 12:15
  • Arrival time: 07:10
  • Flight time: 13 hours and 55 minutes
  • Flight number: AA34
  • Frequency: Daily
  • Note that this flight will begin on 6th January 2022

Linking United States and NZ’s South Island nonstop

The new route between Los Angeles and Christchurch was scheduled to launch in October 2020 but was delayed obviously because of the pandemic. However, it is now scheduled to launch on 5th January 2022, operating 3-times-a-week. Christchurch Airport is very enthusiastic about its upcoming new arrival, and tickets have already gone on sale.

Flight schedule of Los Angeles-Christchurch-Los Angeles route:

  • Los Angeles-Christchurch
  • Departure time: 23:30
  • Arrival time: 10:25 (+2 days)
  • Flight time: 13 hours and 55 minutes
  • Flight number: AA260
  • Frequency: Wednesdays, Fridays And Sundays
  • Christchurch-Los Angeles
  • Departure time: 14:10
  • Arrival time: 06:00
  • Flight time: 12 hours and 50 minutes
  • Flight number: AA261
  • Frequency: Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays

American’s B787

As aforementioned, all of American’s US to New Zealand services will be operated by a Boeing B797 Dreamliner. The world’s largest airline currently has 24 of the B787-8s and 22 of the B787-9s in its fleet, with an order for a total of 79. It still has to take 13 of the smaller B787-8s and 30 of the B787-9s.

Joint venture with Qantas

American’s New Zealand expansion is anchored in the airline’s partnership with fellow Oneworld alliance member Qantas. The partnership was announced in July 2019 that allows both airlines to cooperate and coordinate fares and schedules between the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

Resumption depends on the lifting of restrictions

American Airlines’ plans to resume services to New Zealand, a country with some of the harshest travel restrictions in the world, totally depends on the reopening of the borders of NZ.

For most of the past year, with a few exceptions for partners, dependents, and critical workers, only New Zealand citizens have been allowed to enter the country. Upon arrival, they have to go through ‘managed isolations’ for 14 days, meaning quarantine in a government-designated hotel.

When the Trans-Tasman bubble with Australia kicked off in April, it was the 1st step towards easing of restrictions on international arrivals. It remains to be seen how much of the world’s population will need to be vaccinated before it decides to open its airports back to fully packed widebodies. Currently, New Zealand’s Prime Minister has said that there is no immediate roadmap for reopening.

Featured image by International Flight Network

What do you think of American Airlines’ plans to resume flights to New Zealand? Do you think that the country will open by the end of the year? Let me know in the comments section below.

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