United to drop year-round flights to New Zealand

by Steve Creedy - editor
January 10, 2017

Air New Zealand has confirmed that alliance partner United Airlines will move to a seasonal schedule this year on its Auckland-San Francisco route.

The Kiwi carrier said the move to stop flying to Auckland between April 17 and October 31 would allow United to better match capacity with seasonal demand.

However,  the US carrier will boost flights to Auckland by three a week during the busy summer months.

“Between April and October, all alliance services on the route will be operated by Air New Zealand, which will fly daily between Auckland and San Francisco,’’  AirNZ said. “United will resume flying daily on the route from November 2017, increasing to 10 services per week during the peak summer months of December – March, in addition to Air New Zealand’s operated services.

“Air New Zealand and United Airlines are committed to working together to provide customers with convenient year-round travel options between New Zealand and the United States.’’

The launch last July of United Boeing 787 service to Auckland after a long absence was originally seen as a pre-emptive strike against the Qantas-American alliance and as a way of deepening the partnership the Star Alliance carriers.

The United move comes as an increase in capacity on trans-Pacific routes in recent years which has kept airfares low.