The two biggest Australasian airlines are to go head-to-head on one of the world’s longest flight routes: Auckland to New York JFK.
Air New Zealand plans to link the two cities, which are 8,828 miles apart, from 17 September.
Meanwhile its big Australian rival, Qantas, says it will compete on the same route from 14 June 2023.
Heading east, the Qantas flight is scheduled to take 16 hours 15 minutes. The effect of the international date line means it departs from Auckland at 5pm and arrives just 15 minutes later, local time.
Westbound, against the jet stream, the flight is scheduled to take 17 hours 30 minutes – five minutes less than the Air New Zealand schedule.
The three-times-weekly flight will carry the numbers QF3 from Auckland and QF4 from New York.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Qantas served New York as a continuation of flights to Los Angeles.
The Sydney-based carrier has rights to fly between New Zealand and the US. Qantas says the new Auckland flight will provide better connection opportunities to New York than the present hub at Los Angeles.
Qantas currently operates six daily services to Auckland from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. That will increase to 11 daily flights when the new flight to New York launches.
The Qantas Group chief executive, Alan Joyce, said: “We’re back flying to most of our pre-Covid destinations, which is a fantastic achievement by our teams and so important for Australians reconnecting with the rest of the world.
“We can’t wait to return to New York and it’s made possible by the delivery of new aircraft, which have been caught up in delays that have impacted lots of airlines.
“Customer feedback on our direct London and Rome services [from Perth] show how well suited our Dreamliner cabins are to longer international flights like these, which is helped by the fact we designed them with more room and fewer seats than most of our competitors.
“We think this route will be very popular with Australians given the opportunity to connect via Auckland and it also gives New Zealanders more choice.”
The vast majority of the trip between Auckland and New York is spent crossing the Pacific Ocean.
The most direct route from New York traverses Mexico from the tip of the Baja California peninsula, then crosses Texas and the southern states en route to New York JFK.
The links on Air New Zealand and Qantas will open up new round-the-world opportunities for British travellers, such as Manchester-New York-Auckland-Singapore-Manchester.
Ultra-long-haul flights such as this have a more severe impact on the environment than one-stop services, because so much fuel is burnt carrying kerosene for later in the journey.