Air New Zealand’s inaugural flight from Auckland to New York touched down at John F. Kennedy International Airport on 17 September, marking the first of its non-stop flights connecting “the city of sails and the city that never sleeps”.
Stuart Nash, the Minister of Tourism for New Zealand, and Greg Foran, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer were on the inaugural flight, along with key tourism and travel partners. Foran said the introduction of a non-stop service between Auckland and New York connects his two favourite places.
By adding greater access to the East Coast of the US, we’re connecting our North American customers to the possibilities of 20 destinations within New Zealand as well as the Pacific and Australia, all within easy reach.Greg Foran, CEO Air New Zealand
“As one of the world’s greatest cities, Air New Zealand is proud to add the Big Apple to its list of 29 international destinations. This is terrific for our customers”, Foran added. At the announcement of the route in March, he also mentioned that this is the airline’s new flagship route. ” 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”, the CEO explained.
The airline’s new international menu was also debuted onboard NZ2, showcasing the best of New Zealand produce to the world. This features more choice in the air, so Premium customers can add choose dishes like seared salmon from Marlborough, free-range chicken from Waikato, bacon and streamed green vegetables or fresh, crisp salads picked straight from orchards and fields in Gisborne, Waikato and the Manawatū.
As part of the new menu, Business Premier customers on the inaugural flight were welcomed to their dining experience with an amuse-bouche of New Zealand paua saucisson (abalone sausage) with herb cream and tomato.
Air New Zealand now serves seven destinations in North America: New York City, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and, from 31 October, Chicago.
Despite the success of the flight, on the way back to Auckland from New York, some passengers were left without their luggage. “Unfortunately given additional fuel requirements due to adverse weather, some customer bags were unable to be loaded in New York and we are getting them to New Zealand as soon as possible,” Air New Zealand COO Alex Marren told CNN Travel. The airline said this was a one-time incident and will not be repeated.