As the world emerges from pandemic and gears up for an international travel renaissance, both Qantas and Air New Zealand have set their sights on ultra long-haul travel. For Air New Zealand, a new ultra long-haul route may come as early as this year.
Exciting Ultra Long-Haul Routes From Air New Zealand & Qantas
Qantas Resumes Project Sunrise
This week, Qantas announced the resumption of Project Sunrise. Project Sunrise is the code name for Qantas’ plan to launch ultra long-haul service from Sydney and Melbourne to key destinations around the globe currently not reachable nonstop. That includes:
- Cape Town
- New York
- Rio de Janeiro
Most important, though, is connecting Sydney with London and New York nonstop. Qantas challenged both Airbus and Boeing to come up with an aircraft capable of making the journey with a full load of passengers and cargo and Airbus proved to be the winner, offering a modified A350-1000 it promises can successfully complete the mission.
The pandemic pushed the timeline back, but Qantas now expects to order these aircraft later in 2022 and launch its nonstop ultra long-haul service in 2025.
Prior to the pandemic, Qantas’ daily 9,010-mile Perth – London service onboard the Boeing 787-9 clocked in at over 17 hours when flying west, but also proved to be the most profitable flight in the Qantas network. That London flight will operate from Darwin going forward, with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce raising eyebrows by saying the state of Western Australia (which includes Perth) is “starting to look like North Korea” after it continued to maintain a hard border long after other states had loosened coronavirus-era restrictions. Western Australia has since re-opened its borders.
> Read More: Qantas CEO Optimistic Over Project Sunrise
Air New Zealand Plans Nonstop Auckland – Newark Service Later In 2022
Meanwhile, Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran announced his carrier intends to launch nonstop service from Auckland to Newark later this year:
“Looking further out to the end of this calendar year, we will be ramping up more passenger flights to North America and looking forward to starting up our direct service to New York City.”
This route had been in the works prior to the pandemic and would have operated according to the following schedule:
- NZ1 // Newark (EWR) – Auckland (AKL) // dep 7:05PM, arr 6:45AM+2 days
- NZ2 // Auckland (AKL) – Newark (EWR) // dep 7:55PM, arr 5:35PM
Any new routes, however, will likely be contingent upon New Zealand reopening to international visitors without stringent mandatory quarantines, which still may be months away.
Air New Zealand has hinted at a new business class product on its ultra long-haul Boeing 787-9 aircraft and may also launch a new Economy Skynest product currently in research and development.
Qantas and Air New Zealand are both gearing up to launch ultra long-haul service, with Air New Zealand hinting at nonstop service between Auckland and Newark as early as late 2022. Meanwhile, Qantas has officially resumed “Project Sunrise” and hopes to launch nonstop service between Sydney and London/New York in 2025.
Has the pandemic made you more likely to insist upon nonstop flights?