Air New Zealand will operate its first direct flight from Auckland Airport (AKL) to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on September 17, 2022, two years after the original launch date was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With flight times of between 16-17.5 hours, the route will be one of the longest in the world. 

The airline said in a press release that the new route will be operated three times a week using  the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Flight times will be between 16-17.5 hours.

The flight will offer 27 seats in Business, 33 in Premium Economy, 215 in Economy and 13 Economy Skycouches – private Economy seats that convert into a couch after take-off.

The inaugural flight, NZ 2, will depart Auckland at 16:00 local time, and arrive in New York 16:15 local time, the same day. 

Starting September 19, 2022, NZ 1 will depart New York at 21:55 local time and arrive in Auckland at 07:30 local time, two days later.

Outbound flight NZ 2 will depart Auckland at 19:40 local time and arrive in New York 19:55 local time, the same day.

"Traditionally, flight numbers 1 and 2 are used for an airline's flagship route. And that's what New York will be – our flagship route. We've worked incredibly hard over the past few years to make this ultra-long-haul service a reality – it's one of the longest routes in the world, at just over 16 hours northbound and 17 and a half hours southbound," Air New Zealand chief executive officer Greg Foran said in a statement.

"The US has always been a key market for us, and this new route cements our commitment to growing opportunities for tourism between the two countries. In the six years leading up to Covid, the US visitor numbers to New Zealand doubled so we expect our much-awaited non-stop service to be incredibly strong year-round."

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Air New Zealand has announced that it is cutting flights between Los Angeles and London starting 2020. Instead, using the available capacity, the airline will operate a new route to New York.