On June 14, 2023, Qantas flight QF3 departed Sydney International Airport bound for Auckland (AKL), New Zealand, and New York (JFK).
This departure marks the return of Qantas’ New York service, which it had previously operated until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic
The routing of the Sydney to New York service has been tweaked slightly, with the aircraft now making a stopover in Auckland instead of Los Angeles as was the case until 2020.
This makes the Auckland to New York leg of the flight one of the world’s longest in its own right, with a duration of 16 hours 15 mins, competing with Air New Zealand’s own flight on the same route.
By switching the stop to Auckland, Qantas can also catch some traffic from other cities in Australia, such as Melbourne and Brisbane, from where it flies to Auckland nonstop multiple times per week.
The thrice-weekly New York service, which will increase to four flights per week from October 2023, is operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with 236 seats (42 in business, 28 in premium economy and 166 in economy class)
Qantas has devised a number of actions to mark the resumption of this flagship route, such as handing out special edition designer pyjamas to passengers and the elaboration of New York-themed menus, which will be available both onboard and at Qantas’ lounges.
Proof of the importance that the Australian carrier has attributed to the reopening of the New York service is the fact that the CEO of Qantas Group, Alan Joyce, was onboard the inaugural flight.
“While the world has changed dramatically since the start of COVID, one thing that hasn’t changed is the lure of New York City,” he is quoted as saying in Qantas’ official launch announcement.
The top executive also confirmed that the airline had seen strong demand for this route since it was opened for reservations.