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United, American Airlines eye direct flights to Auckland

By David Flynn     Filed under: United Airlines, New Zealand, Auckland, American Airlines, USA, Air New Zealand, Boeing 787 Dreamliner

IN BRIEF | American Airlines and United Airlines are considering launching direct flights between the USA and New Zealand, potentially busting the Air New Zealand monopoly and giving Qantas travellers a US-via-Auckland option for stateside flights.

United is examining a San Francisco-Auckland service using a Boeing 787 while Qantas partner American Airlines is running the numbers on Los Angeles-Auckland, according to a report in New Zealand's news website. 

Air New Zealand runs flights from its Auckland hub to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver, with another North American city – possibly Chicago, Houston or even Las Vegas – tipped to join the network this year.

United previously planned to fly between Houston and Auckland as the debut route for its Boeing 787 but axed the route in mid-2012.

Read more: Air New Zealand faces trans-Pacific competition

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


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1 on 2/3/15 by smit0847

This as well as the news of a new NZ domestic airline to be launched would have me a bit worried if I have Air NZ. Their monopolies are one of the main reasons they are profitable.

1 on 2/3/15 by domesticgoddess

If you're referring to Kiwi Regional Airlines, they've said consistently that they will not be competing on routes operated by Air NZ.

1 on 2/3/15 by kash

that is because they want to fly from Whenupai... so thus techinically is ain't operating on the same routes as Air NZ but is is the same market

and since the govt controls Air NZ they have prevented Whenupai from becoming a commercial airport

so NZ's monopoly is maintained... 

Kiwi's deserve it , they seem to take great joy in paying ridiculous fares just to prop up an entity that should not really exist...

1 on 2/3/15 by domesticgoddess

In my experience, the rationale against Whenuapai as a commercial airport has nothing to do with maintaining Air NZ's "monopoly" (which I should point out, there's not on the AKL-WLG route: Jetstar).

1 on 2/3/15 by kash

of course the govt would never say that... but the fact that they do not even try and push it's opening is evidence enough...

last I checked AKL-WLG ain't the only domestic route in NZ...

and the reason one can get cheap fares on tht route is because tht route has competition, but most like Napier etc do not

80% of the market under one airline...

1 on 2/3/15 by domesticgoddess

My reference to Jetstar on the AKL-WLG route was responding to your point that KRA propose to fly from Whenuapai. My point is that if you're suggesting that that is competition to Air NZ, competition already exists in the Auckland-Wellington market. KRA, after all, are not suggesting any other routes from Whenuapai.

2 on 2/3/15 by TheRealBabushka

Bring it on! System-wide upgrades all the way through!

1 on 2/3/15 by dimi


3 on 2/3/15 by hutch

AA flying to Auckland would make sense.

United flying to Auckland though is interesting, as I understood Air NZ and United came to agreement years ago where United wouldn't fly to Auckland and Air NZ wouldn't compete on the SYD-USA non-stop routes. If it happens, I wonder whether ANZ would consider relaunching those flights... would be strong competition for United and Qantas.

1 on 2/3/15 by les

maybe Qantas will consider restarting Akl - Lax?

1 on 2/3/15 by hutch

No spare planes. 

2 on 2/3/15 by Rishi

Joyce might put a 787 on there if they think of doing it.

4 on 2/3/15 by Andy H

Hey UA! A MEL-SFO service whilst your at it too please! 

I don't think both NZ and UA are the best of friends, in MEL, they both fight for the same connecting traffic to Nth America. NZ weren't too happy seeing UA go non-stop from MEL, as MEL was one of the main cities funelling into other NZ flights, even take a look at the airport, theres one ad for UA advertising the non-stop 787 service, on the other, NZ is advertising its own services to LAX.

1 on 2/3/15 by Rishi

Ikr when you arrive at T2 there is the United Los Angeles thing and then inside you got Air NZ and their Fly Kiwi Way ad.

5 on 2/3/15 by Hugo

Hard to see much advantage of an Australia-US route via Auckland on QF/AA.

The AKL stopover on NZ is worth it if you're going to SFO; gotta stop somewhere, might as well make it the relatively pleasant AKL rather than the horrid LAX. 

But I can't see AA operating from anywhere other than LAX and maybe DFW, both of which already get QF services. So in exchange for your extra stopover, you get the privilege of flying across the Pacific on a worse airline.

Still, good news for NZers.

1 on 2/3/15 by TheRealBabushka

SFO is not an AA hub.

AKL/DFW would be ideal!

6 on 2/3/15 by Rishi

It's a total loss if AA comes in, taken they price the same as Qantas while ANZ go a bit lower, and also since it's one of those American airlines, no one will fly. For United, I think it could work although ANZ won't really let it happen.

1 on 2/3/15 by kash


because unlike NZ/STAR

AA offers the easiest way to connect to other parts of N.A via LAX...

which will be further enhanced with the TBIT connector to T4

AA's business product is superior to Air NZ

AA has wifi- Air NZ is lacking

both have cramped economy seats...

it is no secret that LAX is NZ's biggest revenue source for LH but this route ain't AA biggest revenue source, thus if anything it will be easier for AA to undercut NZ...

1 on 3/3/15 by aviation

You've pretty obviously got a major issue with Air NZ...and if AA were to launch on that route, you can go ahead and enjoy the supposed superior product/service you believe AA have, but personally I'd be sticking with Air NZ. In the same way I'd fly QF/VA over UA/DL.

1 on 3/3/15 by kash

note how I provided the facts and you did not...


enjoy your 3-4-3 and coffin style herringbone! 

1 on 3/3/15 by aviation

Stats?!?! OK, how about...

In the past few years Air NZ have twice won ATW Airline of the Year and twice won Airline of the Year.

Air NZ business class bed has a matress built into it and along with a memory foam underlay, it is far more comfortable to sleep on.

And by the way, AA economy on their 773 is 3-4-3 and their business class is reverse herringbone!!!! Idiot!

Enjoy 80 year olds serving you stock-standard food...

2 on 3/3/15 by Rishi

Kash I hope you enjoy the "superior" service on AA. Have fun looking at the NZ plane while taxiing at LAX or at AKL.

2 on 3/3/15 by John

Completely agree with you Aviation. Air NZ is a great airline and the times when I have flown with them they have been impecable!

Kash, saying an airline has wifi is not a fact, more of a statement.

Air NZ with their sperate sleeping surface and plush mattress is very hard to beat in a business cabin. The service is next to none (depends if you like the more reserved-style service SQ gives you; or the 100 year old hillbilly cant be bothered style service you are so used to getting on AA).

Clearly you have never flown with NZ.

Wake up from your illusion!

7 on 2/3/15 by Koru17

Lets clear some issues up...

1) Whenuapai (as I believe) has a 'hexagon paving' for thier runway as it is an ex Air Force base. Thus the extra weight of jet aircraft means tyres etc wear out faster due to the weight of the aircraft. Ligher, regional aircraft are less affected. Thus NZ needs to have its mainline domestic and regional all at the same airport, ruling out whenuapai.

2) Air NZ will make any competition difficult. They have monopoly on majority of long haul routes (and have codeshares with CX and SQ for the ones they don't) so I really don't see this being an issue. Doemstically, NZ is too small a country to operate with more than two airlines?

Also, Kash, I completely disagree with your commets. LAX is horrible to connect at no matter what airline you use. I motstly connect through SFO on a NZ/VX codeshare, works a treat everytime. ALSO Since when does AA's service and product outshine NZ's? I think you are mistken there...

1 on 2/3/15 by Harry

Hi Koru 17,

Competion in NZ airspace is more tight and difficult for a newcomer unlike here in Australia. Plus, you Kiwi's have some obsession/fascination with Air New Zealand and couldn't imagine you flying another airline!

Plus Air NZ's Business Premier product is amazing and one of the best business products out there. AA is miles behind in my opinion. I flew Air NZ to YVR and the bed was so plush with that mattress they use. The food was excellent!

2 on 3/3/15 by kash

no LAX transfers are far easier with OW and will be made further easier with the TBIT connector to AA T4...

service obviously Air NZ is superior

but hard product? no...

8 on 3/3/15 by ArnoldMarsupial

Air NZ have around 80% of the market domestically. Air NZ changed their model to defend their domestic market prior to Virgin's entry and Virgin withdrew. Air NZ remain competitive in the domestic market despite all competition in order to feed their international flights. Look out for NZ/SIN alliance to bash the shit out of QF in every regard in the near/medium future. QF have no friends having screwed Air NZ from their position on the Air NZ board previously, and SIN hate QF similarly. Competition is fierce.

1 on 3/3/15 by kash

Well QF could have a good partner BUT they hate on CX so much that CX resorted to NZ...

in fact had LH not prevented NZ from expanding its relationship with CX the SQ-NZ relationship would not have happened.

9 on 3/3/15 by sagidec

Bring AA to Australia with their new 777-300ERs configuration or 787s.

Need more competition.

10 on 6/3/15 by daschok

If both AA and UA start AKL-LAX, this will start World War 3, especially since it is also easy to go via Fiji (Fiji Airways) and HNL (Hawaiian), and in some ways, SYD (QF, VA-DL)

1 on 6/3/15 by daschok

Sorry, what I meant to say was ... start AKL-USA, ...

The point I am trying to make still stands though. 


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