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Air New Zealand will begin nonstop service to its fifth North American gateway this winter, debuting regularly scheduled flights between Houston and Auckland on Dec. 15.
According to Chris Myers, vice president and general manager for the Americas, U.K. and Europe for Air New Zealand, the new segment not only opens up the large Texas market to the carrier, but also expands the airline’s reach within the U.S.
“Texas is the second-largest populated state in the U.S. and one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, but Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) also provides nonstop service to almost 200 airports around the globe, including 113 domestic U.S. destinations,” Myers said. “Our priority has always been to make the customer journey as comfortable and easy as possible, and the IAH service means a gateway to New Zealand is much closer to the East Coast, Midwest and Southern states.”
The new Auckland-Houston route will operate five times per week, flying Tuesday through Friday and then again on Sunday, onboard a Boeing 777-200. The one-way flight time for the service will be about 14.5 hours.
A member of Star Alliance, Air New Zealand will code-share with United on a range of connecting flights into Houston. Meanwhile, the carrier has also recently retrofit the Boeing 777s slated for use on the new Auckland-Houston flights, offering 26 Business Premier seats with lie-flat beds, 40 Premium Economy seats and 246 seats in coach.
“Beyond food- and drink-ordering capabilities, the in-flight entertainment system offers 1,800 hours of content via a personal touch screen, with a robust library including movies, television shows, music, sports, games, audio books and more,” Myers said.
The planes will also feature 18 rows of Air New Zealand’s new economy Skycouch product, which provides couples and traveling families a larger area to spread out during the long-haul service.
This year, Air New Zealand celebrates 50 years of flying to the U.S. It currently operates nonstop service from Auckland to the North American gateways of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Vancouver, British Columbia.