Air New Zealand is expanding its North American presence by adding a fifth North American gateway airport to its network in December.
Star Alliance member Air New Zealand will launch non-stop service between Auckland and Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport, a major hub for alliance partner United Airlines, in mid-December.
Air New Zealand plans to operate up to five Auckland-Houston round-trips each week and expects to make tickets for the new service available for purchase from next month.
“This expands our reach into a thriving part of the country and also acts as a great feed to the East Coast, meaning a gateway to New Zealand is now less than three hours away from numerous U.S. cities,” says Chris Myers, Air New Zealand’s vice president of the Americas. “We’re also excited about the prospect of bringing New Zealanders to Texas and other southern and eastern states via Houston.”
The airline will operate its Auckland-Houston route with newly refitted Boeing 777-200ER widebodies. Air New Zeland has eight 777-200ERs in its fleet, along with seven 777-300ERs.
Air New Zealand will codeshare with United Airlines, putting its flight code on United flights linking Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IATA code IAH) with numerous North American cities.
Mainly thanks to United’s large hub operation there, IAH offers non-stop flights to almost 200 airports worldwide, including 113 domestic U.S. destinations.
Each of its refitted Boeing 777-200ERs offers Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycouch seating, a Premium Economy cabin and lie-flat beds in Business Premier.
Air New Zealand celebrates its 75th anniversary on April 30 and later this year ‒ on a date which will be very close to or possibly actually even on the day of its inaugural flight from Houston ‒ will also commemorate 50 years of flying from North America.
The airline began service from Los Angeles to Auckland (via Nadi and Honolulu) on December 14, 1965.
Houston will join Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Honolulu as North American destinations for Air New Zealand.