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Air NZ to start New York flights but end London service

Air New Zealand will begin flights between Auckland and Newark, while ending its long-serving Los Angeles-London services in October 2020.

The carrier will fly thrice-weekly on the Auckland-Newark route, using Boeing 787-9s that are configured with 275 seats, lower than the 302 seats it has on other 787-9s.

No launch date was specified by the airline, pending regulatory approvals and slot confirmation at Newark, which is a hub of its Star Alliance partner United Airlines.

Air NZ's decision to withdraw its Los Angeles-London service was attributed to "market dynamics," which has affected the route's performance in recent years. Acting chief executive Jeff McDowall noted that less than 7% of passengers flying between Auckland and London chose to fly via Los Angeles in 2018.

"At the same time, the Atlantic has become one of the most hotly contested routes in the world and Air New Zealand lacks the home market advantages and scale of the North American and European airlines we're up against," says McDowall.

Cirium schedules data shows that Air NZ flies daily on the Los Angeles-London route with Boeing 777-300ERs, and competes with American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

It also notes that more than two thirds of the revenue generated by the London office is "unrelated to the Atlantic route," and that it will retain a sales, marketing, and cargo presence in London after ceasing flights to the UK capital.

"We fully expect customers will want to take advantage of the many connection options on our partner networks through Air New Zealand's gateways in Asia and the Americas, including New York," adds McDowall.

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