It’s not every day that Qantas promotes flights operated by another airline and connecting two countries, neither of which is Australia.
That’s what Australia’s national carrier did at the weekend, however, in the form of a media release boosting American Airlines’ inaugural Auckland-Los Angeles service, which Qantas said opens up more choice for New Zealanders travelling to the United States.
“The new daily non-stop service, operated by American’s state-of-art Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, adds almost 1600 seats a week on the Auckland-Los Angeles route and connects to over 220 daily flights to more than 70 destinations around the world – more than any other carrier in Los Angeles,” Qantas said.
“Growth in New Zealand is the next step in the expanded partnership between American and Qantas,” it said, “adding that the partnership “has provided customers with more options across the Pacific, including American’s Sydney-Los Angeles service and Qantas’ Sydney-San Francisco routes – both of which began operating in December last year”.
For inbound visitors, American’s new route taps in to the Qantas Group’s network of more than 70 destinations in Australia and New Zealand. Qantas and Jetstar operate up to 175 return flights a week between New Zealand and Australia.
Auckland-Los Angeles is the seventh new trans-Pacific route American Airlines has added over the past three years, doubling its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
American’s vice president global marketing, Fernand Fernandez, said Auckland was a destination the US carrier had “admired for a long time.
“This new route is critically important for American’s strategic expansion in the Asia Pacific region and a key part of our partnership with Qantas,” Fernandez said. “We are glad that customers can now have more choices to fly to the United States and beyond.
“American Airlines is investing USD 3 billion to improve customer experience. We are the first and only foreign airline in Auckland airport to adopt mobile kiosks for check-in and self bag tagging. It provides a convenient option for our customers to enjoy an efficient check-in experience without lining up at counters,” Fernandez added.
Chief executive of Qantas international and freight, Gareth Evans, said the way New Zealanders had responded to the new service had been “fantastic to see”. The new service “brings competition to the Los Angeles route for the first time in many years,” he said.
“The bigger, stronger partnership we’re building with American Airlines is all about giving our customers more options and better experiences, and we’re expecting that to translate into more tourism and trade for the New Zealand economy.
“Qantas and Jetstar are growing within New Zealand and on trans-Tasman routes to Australia, so there are great opportunities for US visitors to travel widely and get to know our amazing region,” Evans said.
Auckland to Los Angeles
Departs AKL at 1:20 p.m.
Arrives at LAX at 6:30 a.m, same day
Los Angeles to Auckland
Departs LAX at 10:45 p.m.
Arrives at AKL at 6:35 a.m., two days later
Edited by Peter Needham