Air New Zealand will once again operate non-stop services between Auckland and Seoul with a new route scheduled to take off on November 23 that will give passengers flying between the two cities significantly improved flight options.
The Kiwi carrier has previously flown between Auckland and Seoul, having first launched services on the route back in the mid-1990s before dropping the route “when travel patterns changed and there was stronger demand elsewhere on its network”, the airline said in a press release.
The new service will offer a notably more convenient connection between Auckland and Seoul. At present, travellers flying with the New Zealand carrier have to stopover at Tokyo Narita and connect onto a flight operated by Korean carrier and fellow Star Alliance member, Asiana Airlines, to go between Tokyo and Seoul.
This routing takes just over 16 hours flying from Auckland to Seoul and an arduous 20 hours – including a seven hour stopover – on the return journey. Air New Zealand’s non-stop service, by comparison, will take approximately 12 hours flying northbound and just over 11 going southbound.
Flights initially will operate three times per week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, though this is expected to be bumped up to five weekly flights during the peak southern summer season, namely late December to mid-February. These two additional weekly flights will operate on Wednesday and Sunday.
|NZ75||Auckland (AKL)||Seoul (ICN)||1200||1955||Mon, Thu, Sat (Wed, Sun from Dec 23-Feb 22|
|NZ76||Seoul (ICN)||Auckland (AKL)||2145||1255||Mon, Thu, Sat (Wed, Sun from Dec 23-Feb 22|
“Inbound leisure travel from South Korea to New Zealand has grown significantly in recent years presenting an important tourism growth opportunity for the airline and for the New Zealand tourism economy,” said Air New Zealand chief revenue officer, Cam Wallace.
Flights will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, though it is unclear at this stage whether this will be one of its old- or new-configuration 787-9s. Air New Zealand began taking delivery of new Dreamliners with greater capacity in the premium cabins back in October 2017, and while the seat products across the two different configurations are the same, the greater availability of premium seats is certainly a plus for business travellers.
These new-configuration 787-9s have 27 Business Premier seats (pictured above), up from the older 18, and 33 seats in premium economy, an increase from 21. Business Premier on Air New Zealand is laid out in an unconventional 1-1-1 configuration on the Dreamliner, with seats angled outwards towards the aisles.
Air New Zealand is still awaiting slot confirmation and regulatory approval on the new route, with tickets set to go on sale “soon”.
Meanwhile elsewhere in its network, Air New Zealand is giving its recently launched Taipei and Chicago services a frequency boost in November and December, respectively bringing both of the thrice-weekly services up to a five-times-per-week schedule during peak seasons.