Qantas has relaunched flights to New York after a three-year hiatus, this time operating via Auckland, and directly competing with trans-Tasman rival Air New Zealand.

Flight QF3, operated by a Boeing 787-9, took off from Sydney on 14 June, first bound for Auckland, before setting off for New York’s John F Kennedy airport. Qantas will operate thrice weekly flights, increasing to four times a week from October.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

The airline operated to New York pre-pandemic, but via Los Angeles. The rerouting via Auckland means Qantas is the second carrier to fly between Auckland and New York.

Air New Zealand operates the flagship route thrice weekly, having launched it in September 2022. The airline will in 2024 retrofit aircraft operating the route with new cabin products, including its “game-changing” economy bunk-bed concept, known as SkyNest.

As for Qantas, its 787s seat 236 passengers in three classes. The airline adds that it has been using “advanced cloud-based flight planning system that models flights paths, measuring flights times and winds, to determine the optimal route”, an indirect reference to the weather woes that affected rival Air New Zealand’s New York flights.

At just over 16h, the Auckland-New York leg is Qantas’ third longest route. The Perth-London (17h 45min) and Dallas-Melbourne (17h 25min) are the longest routes in Qantas’ network.

Airline chief Alan Joyce says: “Since international borders re-opened, New York has been one of the most popular destinations for our customers who have been connecting on our partners from Qantas flights arriving into Los Angeles and Dallas, so it’s not surprising that we’ve seen very strong demand since our New York flights went on sale.”

The launch comes as Qantas moves closer to launching non-stop flights from Australia’s east coast to New York and London under the ‘Project Sunrise’ programme.

Qantas expects to launch the ultra-long-haul flights by end-2025, with a fleet of Airbus A350-1000s.