Air New Zealand has strengthened its partnership with United Airlines. The deepening of partnership will allow United Airlines to conduct flights to San Francisco from Auckland utilizing its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft beginning July 2016. The move by both the airlines is being seen as challenging the trans-Pacific alliance of American Airlines and Qantas Airways.
The new arrangement will see United Airlines initially operating thrice weekly flights services on Auckland-San Francisco route effective from July next year. Later on, the airline will be conducting daily flights between the two cities with the help of the larger Boeing 787-9 aircraft starting November 2016.
Media reports said that with the start of the new service the monopoly of Air New Zealand will be lost to the United Airlines on flights services to the mainland United States from New Zealand. This will also significantly benefit the customers as well with decreased airfares.
Earlier, Air New Zealand had a complete monopoly over flights to the mainland United States from Auckland. The monopoly also helped the airline big revenues with higher airfares than most Australian and U.S. carriers.
Air New Zealand is currently offering flights to Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The airline has also indicated that it is planning to launch new destinations in North America by the end of 2015. A spokesperson of Air New Zealand said that it would launch flights to Texas, Houston and Vancouver (Canada) starting from December this year.
It may be noted that the trans-Pacific market is presently witnessing three rivals – Qantas Airways-American Airlines partnership, Air New Zealand-United Airlines alliance and Virgin Australia-Delta Air Lines alliance.