Air New Zealand Adds Stop In Hawaii To California Bound Flights

In a bid to better manage crews and COVID health concerns, Air New Zealand’s flights between Auckland and North America will begin stopping over in Honolulu from early February. But if any enterprising passengers think they might break their transpacific flight with a few days in Hawaii, sorry to disappoint. Passengers will need to stay on the flight.

Air New Zealand transpacific flights will have crew changes in Hawaii from early February. Photo: Boeing

From February 2, all Air New Zealand transpacific services will stopover in Hawaii

Presently, Air New Zealand runs four cargo services a week between Auckland and San Francisco. That is in addition to eight cargo services and two passenger services each week between Auckland and Los Angeles. Plus, there is a once a week Air New Zealand cargo service between Australia and North America. In total, Air New Zealand has 15 return services a week crossing the Pacific.

But as part of Air New Zealand’s efforts to reduce COVID-19 risks for its crew, those flights will begin stopping over in Honolulu in each direction from February 2. That will see Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport host 30 Air New Zealand crew each week.

On all flights, there will be a crew change in Honolulu. Outbound, one crew will operate the Auckland – Honolulu leg. A second crew will operate the Honolulu – San Francisco / Los Angeles – Honolulu sector. That second crew will stay airside when in San Francisco or Los Angeles. Returning, a fresh crew will take over for the Honolulu – Auckland leg. The weekly flight between Australia and North America is subject to the same arrangements.

Air New Zealand is now operating 15 return transpacific flights each week. Photo: Boeing

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.

The decision is based on the need to keep crews safe and healthy

According to Air New Zealand, the decision is based on a need to overnight crew in safe locations while maintaining links between New Zealand and North America.

“While it’s important to keep trade routes open and passenger services operating for our customers, looking after our people is our first priority,” said Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran in a statement.

“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.”

Passengers on Air New Zealand’s twice-weekly transpacific Dreamliner services will now briefly touch down in Hawaii.  Photo: Boeing

The change will be most noticed by passengers traveling on Air New Zealand’s twice-weekly services between Auckland and Los Angles (and vice versa). Over January, NZ009 leaves Auckland on Thursday and Sunday evenings for the 12 hours and 10 minute nonstop hop up to Los Angles. The return flight leaves Los Angeles on Tuesday and Saturday evenings. Flying time down to Auckland is 13 hours.

The changes will increase travel time and see a next day touchdown in Honolulu for outbound passengers and a late evening stopover for passengers heading down to Auckland. Flying time between Auckland and Honolulu is typically just under nine hours. Flying time between Honolulu and Los Angeles is normally around six hours.

Marks a return of Air New Zealand aircraft to Honolulu

It marks the return of Air New Zealand aircraft to Honolulu after the airline suspended its scheduled services in March. Before that, NZ009/010 plied the route daily. But if New Zealanders hankering for a bit of rest and relaxation in Hawaii think this new stopover opens up the destination once more, think again. While flights may be stopping over in Hawaii from early February, passengers will not be. The stopover is for a crew change only. The airline will only be selling tickets through to either mainland North America or New Zealand.