Qantas will launch flights from Sydney to New York via Auckland in June 2023, in direct competition with Air New Zealand’s forthcoming Big Apple route.
The airline will run a Boeing 787 three days a week on the marathon flight, which will act as a prelude to non-stop Sydney-New York flights under Project Sunrise from late 2025.
After the quick three-hour hop to Auckland, travellers will strap themselves in for a 16-hour leg to New York’s JFK airport.
The New York flights will inherit the QF3/QF4 flight numbers which used to adorn the route when it had a stopover in Honolulu.
QF3 will depart Sydney on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 9.45am, arriving into Auckland at 2.50pm; it will then be wheels-up for New York at 5pm, reaching JFK Airport at 5.15pm the same day QF4 will depart New York on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30pm, reaching Auckland at 5am two days later (thanks, International Dateline) with an 8am departure for the final leg to arrive into Sydney at 9.40am
“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,” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who added that three new Dreamliners would arrive in the hangars next year.
As with its flights from Perth to London and Rome, Qantas expects travellers from other Australian cities to make their way to Sydney in order to join the NY trip, saying the Sydney departures “will be timed to offer convenient connections.”
Qantas currently operates six daily services to Auckland from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne which will increase to 11 daily services when the new flight to New York launches.
In addition to connecting flights from the east coast capitals, Alan Joyce aims to see “hopefully more destinations flying into Auckland that will connect with, that so we provide one stop from all of the major capitals in Australia.”
He believes the route will have particularly strong appeal because it skips the torturous Los Angeles stopover where travellers have to go through customs and immigration to collect and then re-check their bags before lining up to through security and back into the lounge.
“We see significant advantages over LAX because Auckland is a lot better and easier airport to connect through,” Joyce says.
But it’s not just about Aussies flying to New York. “A huge amount of the American traffic actually likes to do dual destinations for leisure travel so that allows us to tap into that – have a stop in Auckland and then come onto Australia, which we think will be really big.”
“We can also pick up passengers that are going out from Auckland or going to Auckland (so) 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.”
And Alan Joyce expects the New York via Auckland route will remain after the late 2025 launch of non-stop Project Sunrise flights from Sydney and Melbourne to New York.
“When we do Sydney-New York, we take it that there probably will (still) be a market for Auckland-New York, as there’s a lot of routes we take to be complementary to each other, and potentially serve a slightly different market… we’re optimistic that this will be maintained even post-Sunrise.”
Qantas will also finally upgrade its Auckland lounges ahead of the New York flight’s June 2023 debut, with the current business and first lounges being replaced by a single and significantly improved ‘premium lounge’ experience.
And ahead of the flight from New York, business class travellers and frequent flyers will enjoy a visit to one of three new lounges jointly operated by Oneworld members American Airlines and British Airways at Terminal 8.