Almost 40 years after Air New Zealand began its daily route linking London with Auckland via Los Angeles, the airline has decided to withdraw the direct service between London and Los Angeles from October 2020.

The London Eye at night
The flight from Los Angeles to London began in 1982 © FenlioQ/Shutterstock

According to its acting chief executive officer, Jeff McDowall, the airline has made the decision to direct capacity to faster-growing markets and remain focused on markets with the greatest opportunity for long-term profitable growth. "Today Kiwis have more than twice the number of ways to fly to London than a decade ago and preferences have changed," he explains. "Less than 7% of all airline travellers between Auckland and London chose to fly via Los Angeles last year."

A New Zealand flight taking off in the air
Air New Zealand has decided to withdraw the direct sevice between London and Los Angeles from October 2020 © Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

The New Zealand flag carrier first began flying from Gatwick via Los Angeles to Auckland in 1982. This decision will bring about the disestablishment of its London cabin crew base of around 130 people and, subject to consultation, around 25 roles in its Hammersmith sales office and ground team. The airline has chosen to announce the withdrawal more than a year in advance to allow time to support its people and to avoid any impact to customers booked to travel.

A twilight view of streets in Hollywood, Los Angeles
The flight has been running from Los Angeles for almost 40 years © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The airline has also announced that it is to launch a non-stop service between Auckland and New York using its 787-9 Dreamliner. The service will run three-times-weekly all year-round from October 2020. "New York has been an aspiration for Air New Zealand for some time and withdrawal from the Atlantic will free up aircraft capacity to make this milestone a reality," says Mr McDowall.

Tickets for Air New Zealand's New York to Auckland service will go on sale soon on its website here.

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