After much speculation of a fifth North American route, Air New Zealand confirmed this morning that Houston, Texas will be the Kiwi carriers next destination.
Direct flights between Auckland and Houston, up to five times per week, will commence December 2015 using the new refitted 777-200ER with 26 flat bed seats in Business Premier, 40 seats in Premium Economy and 246 in Economy, including 18 rows dedicated to the award winning Skycouch.
At 11,340km, the flight will be the longest in Air New Zealand's network with the journey clocking in at 13 hours and 50 minutes East bound with an additional 40 minutes for west bound flights.
"The addition of Houston to our network will mean our customers can fly direct to Texas," says Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon, " and then set out to explore one of the most vibrant and fascinating parts of American culture and experience down home southern hospitality through the food, music and sights of Texas and the American south."
Houston has a large business and tourist appeal, with the Texan city also a major hub for fellow Star Alliance partner United Airlines who will offer onward code-share flights to destinations throughout the U.S.A., Mexico, Latin America and Caribbean.
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The flights will be similar to the Qantas Sydney to Dallas flights with onward connections with partner American Airlines.
Tickets will be on sale from May for travel commencing December 2015 subject to approval.
In other Air New Zealand news, an extension to the seasonal winter flights between Auckland and the Sunshine Coast will now include further seasonal summer flights using the carriers all economy A320 aircraft.
Air New Zealand Chief Sales and Commercial Officer Cam Wallace says the new season will make it attractive for Sunshine Coast residents to hop over to New Zealand to enjoy the best of the Kiwi summer.
"Our existing service has proven popular with many New Zealand holidaymakers heading across the ditch for a mid-winter getaway, while this new summer season is expected to encourage more Australians to make the trip across to visit New Zealand.”