Qantas launching Auckland-New York direct service to compete with Air NZ

Qantas is launching a direct service between Auckland and New York in June 2023, the Australian airline announced.

It will compete with Air New Zealand, which has long desired to fly direct to the Big Apple from Aotearoa.

Air NZ is currently planning to launch three weekly Auckland-New York services in less than a month, on September 17.

Qantas will sell airfares to New York from Australian cities with a stopover in Auckland as an alternative to Los Angeles.

"We think this route will be very popular with Australians given the opportunity to connect via Auckland, with the option to spend some time in the city before heading onwards to New York, and it also gives New Zealanders more choice," said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

"We can't wait to return to New York and it's made possible by the delivery of new 787s, which have been caught up in delays that have impacted lots of airlines.

"Customer feedback on our direct London and Rome services show how well suited our Dreamliner cabins are to longer international flights like these, which is helped by the fact we designed them with more room and fewer seats than most of our competitors."

Qantas flights to New York are on sale from today. The flight time from Auckland to New York is 16 hours, the airline said.

Qantas has also announced it will upgrade its lounge at Auckland International Airport after plans to do so were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will increase the capacity of the lounge by around 40 percent to a total of 340 seats, the airline said.

When the upgrade will be completed wasn't announced, with Qantas saying "the detailed design process will begin shortly and building work will be staged to enable the lounge to operate during the redevelopment".