QANTAS has relaunched flights to the Big Apple, with services from Sydney taking off today for the first time in more than three years. The QF3 service also marks a new route for the carrier, with the flights to New York operating via Auckland instead of Los Angeles.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will fly the route three times a week, with plans to increase to four from Oct, providing more than 1,800 seats from Australia to New York every week.
Travelling on the inaugural flight, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the service is “great news for Australian tourism” and will help bring more visitors from the United States to NSW and beyond.
“While the world has changed dramatically since the start of COVID, one thing that hasn’t changed is the lure of New York City,” Joyce said. “Since international borders re-opened, New York has been one of the most popular destinations for our customers who have been connecting on our partners from Qantas flights arriving into Los Angeles and Dallas, so it’s not surprising that we’ve seen very strong demand since our New York flights went on sale.”
The route, made possible by the recent addition of new Boeing 787 aircraft to Qantas’ fleet, brings the carrier a step closer to returning to 100% of its international network pre-COVID capacity, which it expects to reach by March 2024. Currently, the Flying Kangaroo’s capacity sits at around 85% of pre-COVID levels – a significant increase from 45% a year ago.
“Flying via Auckland makes it easier for travellers from all parts of Australia to access New York, with the choice of 11 daily flights across the Tasman from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne,” Joyce added.
As part of a $100 million investment in new and upgraded lounges, Qantas is also moving forward with plans to transform its Auckland International Lounge, which will see the facility reopen in mid-2024 with more space and featuring the best of local design, food and wine.