American Airlines is due to launch the first non-stop service from Los Angeles to Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand next October after forming a joint business with Qantas.

The Christchurch route will operate three times per week from 25 October 2020 through March 2021 on a Boeing 787-8. The aircraft features 20 Flagship Business seats and 28 in Premium Economy.

American Airlines said it is the first carrier to operate the route. Passengers will also be able to connect to Qantas and Jetstar flights from Christchurch to Wellington and Melbourne.

Vasu Raja, senior vice president of network strategy, commented: “The South Island sums up everything that our customers are looking for in New Zealand…”

The carrier will also launch flights between Dallas Fort Worth and Auckland from 25 October 2020, adding to its existing seasonal service to the New Zealand city from Los Angeles, which will resume from 7 October 2020.

DFW-Auckland flights will be operated by the Boeing 787-9 with 30 Flagship Business seats and 21 in Premium Economy.

Raja added: “Now we’re able to get customers from places like Louisville, Savannah or Monterrey, Mexico all the way to New Zealand with just one stop.”

The new routes follow final approval for American Airlines and Qantas to form a joint business, which will see the Australian carrier launch flights from San Francisco and Chicago to Brisbane in February and April respectively.

Qantas will place its code on the new American Airlines flights, allowing frequent flyers to earn and redeem points on the route.

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