SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Qantas returns to New York, alters route to compete directly with Air New Zealand.

After a three-year break, Qantas has resumed its New York services, now routing through Auckland and thereby directly challenging its trans-Tasman competitor, Air New Zealand.

On June 14, Qantas' flight QF3, operated by a Boeing 787-9, departed Sydney for Auckland, before embarking on its journey to New York's John F Kennedy airport. Initially, Qantas plans to operate flights three times a week, escalating to four weekly flights starting in October.

Prior to the pandemic, Qantas flew to New York via Los Angeles. By rerouting through Auckland, it becomes the second airline to establish a connection between Auckland and New York.

Air New Zealand, which launched this premier route in September 2022 with three weekly flights, plans to upgrade its aircraft operating on this route with new cabin products in 2024. These include the innovative economy bunk-bed concept known as SkyNest.

The Qantas 787s accommodate 236 passengers across three classes. The airline also highlighted its usage of an "advanced cloud-based flight planning system that models flight paths, measures flight times and winds, to determine the optimal route." This statement appears to subtly reference the weather-related disruptions encountered by Air New Zealand's New York flights.

With a duration of just over 16 hours, the Auckland-New York leg represents Qantas' third-longest route, following Perth-London (17h 45min) and Dallas-Melbourne (17h 25min).

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce noted, "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 reintroduction of these flights coincides with Qantas' progress toward launching non-stop flights from Australia's east coast to New York and London under the 'Project Sunrise' initiative.

By the end of 2025, Qantas anticipates inaugurating these ultra-long-haul flights, deploying a fleet of Airbus A350-1000s.