Air New Zealand to Fly Direct to Houston

Air New Zealand has announced it will start flying to Houston, Texas, from December this year, marking the first direct connection between New Zealand and America’s South.

Air New Zealand has announced it will start flying to Houston, Texas, from December this year, marking the first direct connection between New Zealand and America’s South.

This will be Air New Zealand’s longest nonstop flights, and will be operated by its completely refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Houston five-times-weekly, with the hope of becoming a daily connection.

The new route is set to become the fastest link for Kiwis to get to popular East Coast and Midwest destinations such as New York and Chicago. Houston is also a key gateway for Mexico and the rest of Central America, as well as the Caribbean which is becoming an increasingly popular cruise destination for New Zealanders.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the airline is hugely excited to be adding Houston to its list of international destinations, particularly as the move comes hard on the heels of the airline’s recent announcement that it will also begin flying to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.

“We are absolutely committed to expanding our Pacific Rim network.  Houston offers our customers direct access into the heart of the American South and a world of new tourism experiences.  Not only is Houston home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Mission Control and one of the world’s largest livestock shows and rodeos, it’s a great jumping off point for the home of country music in Nashville, Tennessee; the jazz capital of New Orleans; and the resorts, theme parks and beaches of Florida,” he said.

The announcement means that the airline will soon be offering direct services to five North American destinations including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Hawaii and Houston.

As well as benefitting its New Zealand-based customers, the new route has been developed with access to a huge pool of potential US visitors in mind.

Luxon said that research had found that some Americans thought it took more than 40 hours to reach New Zealand, but the new route will change this perception:

“What we’re trying to do is get them to think they’re not going to have to do a transcontinental flight from New York to Los Angeles and down to New Zealand and make it less dramatic for them by doing a one or two hour commuter flight (to Houston),” he said.

Air New Zealand will codeshare from Houston to other key US domestic destinations, with Star Alliance partner, United Airlines - which has a large Houston-based hub. United will codeshare on the Air New Zealand flight from Houston to Auckland, and points beyond.

Air New Zealand has also recently announced it will launch flights between Auckland and Buenos Aires, Argentina – the airline’s first ever scheduled service to South America, to commence in December 2015.

The route will operate on a year-round basis on a three-weekly basis, and will be the airline’s 28th international port. The service will also enable Argentineans to travel directly to New Zealand and then on to Australia on Air New Zealand’s extensive trans-Tasman network, or to Singapore and South East Asia.