australian aviation logo

Inaugural Qantas flight to New York via Auckland takes off

written by Jake Nelson | June 14, 2023

Qantas’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, VH-ZNL, on the tarmac at Sydney Airport. (Image: Jake Nelson)

Qantas has resumed flights to New York for the first time since COVID-19, with a new route travelling via Auckland rather than Los Angeles.

QF3, from Sydney to New York via Auckland, took off at 9:55am on Wednesday morning aboard the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner VH-ZNL (pictured), one of Qantas’s newest aircraft, which was delivered at the end of April. The 19-hour route will operate three times weekly, increasing to four from October, with more than 1,800 seats per week.

“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,” said CEO Alan Joyce, who was on Wednesday’s flight.

“The launch of the route has been made possible by the delivery of new 787 aircraft in recent weeks and brings us closer to returning our international capacity to what it was before COVID.”

This is the first time Qantas has flown to JFK via Auckland instead of through LAX. The new route gives the Flying Kangaroo three of the world’s longest flights, including Perth-London and Dallas-Melbourne, with the Auckland to New York leg spending around 16 hours and 15 minutes in the sky.


“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,” said Joyce.

“Offering more room and fewer seats than most of our competitors, the cabins onboard these aircraft have been designed with long-haul travel in mind.”

The airline says it has been preparing for the Sydney-Auckland-JFK launch by using an “advanced cloud-based flight planning system that models flights paths, measuring flights times and winds, to determine the optimal route”.

Qantas is set to launch its non-stop Project Sunrise flights to New York and London aboard Airbus A350-1000s starting by the end of 2025. The airline expects the flights to generate more than $400 million in earnings in its first full year.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.