Air New Zealand reveals unusual layover for all US flights

The flag carrier has added a stopover to all of its traditionally nonstop services to North America 

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce the COVID-19 risk to its aircrew, Air New Zealand will re-route its North America flights to allow aircrew to overnight in Honolulu rather than Los Angeles or San Francisco. 

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Air New Zealand is using its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet on all long-haul routes. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

From January 11, aircrew on all cargo flights between New Zealand and the United States will overnight in Honolulu. North America passenger services will be routed via Honolulu from February 2. 

The changes mean services from New Zealand will make a short stop in Honolulu to change crew before continuing onto Los Angeles or San Francisco. Aircrew operating into those ports will then remain airside and operate the return flight to the Hawaiian archipelago where there will be a further crew change to operate back to New Zealand. 

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The operator holds a fleet of 14 787s and 15 777s. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The flag carrier says re-routing services through the island means aircrew can overnight in a lower risk destination while still maintaining vital connections into North America. 

Greg Foran, Air New Zealand chief executive officer, commented: “While it’s important to keep trade routes open and passenger services operating for our customers, looking after our people is our first priority. 

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The Boeing 777 forms around half of the carrier's long-haul fleet. Aviation Image Network/BaoLuo

“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us to move so quickly in re-routing our flights, from officials in New Zealand and the United States, to our ground partners and our teams who have worked through the holiday break to make this happen.” 

The Auckland-based firm currently operates eight cargo and two passenger and cargo services per week between New Zealand and Los Angeles in addition to four cargo services between the Kiwi nation and San Francisco and one cargo service from Australia to North America.  

Customers will not be able to end their journey in Honolulu and the airline says it will be contacting cargo customers and passengers affected by the changes in flights directly.