'Major announcement' for NZ-to-US flights

  • 11/11/2015

Air New Zealand looks set to get some competition on its monopoly on flights between Auckland and the mainland United States.

The bosses of rival carriers Qantas and American Airlines, who have an alliance, will be in Wellington today to make what they call "a major announcement for the New Zealand market".

Transport Minister Simon Bridges will also attend the briefing with Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and American Airlines' Doug Parker.

Air NZ currently holds a monopoly of direct flights from New Zealand to mainland United States, flying to Los Angeles, San Francisco and begins flights to Houston next month.

Qantas and American Airlines formed a five-year alliance in 2011, and have been given interim approval by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to expand the arrangement.

They have indicated that they want to begin flying the Los Angeles-Auckland route from next year.

Qantas will start flying direct from Sydney-San Francisco next month while American will fly daily from Sydney-Los Angeles in the same month.

Mr Joyce said in June the new Pacific routes were part of a plan by the airlines to grow the Pacific market by around nine percent.