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United Airlines returns to New Zealand from next July

The service will run from San Francisco to Auckland is association with Air New Zealand.

Nevil Gibson
Fri, 09 Oct 2015

One of the world’s largest airlines, United, is returning to Auckland after announcing a number of new international routes from its San Francisco hub.

The Auckland service, in an arrangement with Air New Zealand, will start on July 1 and expand to daily in October 2016.

Air New Zealand already operates a daily service between Auckland and San Franscisco, so the new service will boost capacity on the route.

The move is part of an expansion of United’s trans-Pacific network. Other flights will be to Tel Aviv, Israel, and Xi’an, China.

The Auckland service will initially run three times a week using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft but will ramp up to the larger 787-9 operated by Air New Zealand when the daily flights start on October 28, 2016.

“We’re very excited about adding Auckland to our industry-leading global route network and offering our New Zealand customers nonstop service to the US,” says Jim Compton, United’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer in a statement.

“Customers will not only be able to fly with United direct to one of America’s most popular business and tourism destinations, they’ll also benefit from seamless onward connections via our San Francisco hub to cities throughout the US, Canada, Mexico and Central/South America.”

United has timed the early afternoon departures from Auckland to arrive at 6.55am local time in San Francisco to connect more than 44 US cities, including more than 40 cities that do not have single-carrier, one-stop service from Auckland today.

United and United Express jointly operate flights from San Francisco to more than 269 destinations throughout North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, including more than 67 served non-stop.  

Overall, United operates an average of nearly 5000 flights a day to 362 airports across six continents. In 2014, it flew nearly two million flights carrying 138 million customers.

The airline will be returning to New Zealand for the first time since 2003, when flights were between Los Angeles and Auckland.

United says the new San Francisco-Tel Aviv flight, which takes 15 hours in the westbound direction, will for the first time link two of the world’s largest concentrations of high-tech industry with a non-stop service..

“This has been high on our priority list and now, with the 787-9 Dreamliner, we're delighted to make it a reality,” says Dave Hilfman, United's senior vice president of worldwide sales.

United and Air New Zealand are foundation members of the Star Alliance airline grouping. Air New Zealand will make its first flight from Auckland to Houston, United’s Texas hub, on December 15.

This will also be codeshared between the two airlines.

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Nevil Gibson
Fri, 09 Oct 2015
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United Airlines returns to New Zealand from next July