The recently launched non-stop service by Air New Zealand from Auckland Airport (AKL) to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (NYC) appears to be having difficulties in its early stages.
On September 25, 2022, passengers were reportedly asked to voluntarily disembark the airline’s return flight to Auckland.
A passenger informed NZ Herald that the airline asked for 20 volunteers to miss the flight in exchange for US$1500 and provided hotel accommodations just before boarding at JFK.
David Morgan, chief operational integrity and safety officer for Air New Zealand, stated in an interview with Radio New Zealand (RNZ) that despite the airline’s careful planning of the JFK-AKL route over the previous two years, unforeseen factors such as “significantly” stronger headwinds on the route than Air NZ anticipated had to be taken into account.
“As a consequence, the flight has taken longer and in order to provide the fuel load, we had to reduce the payload,” Morgan explained.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a payload is the combined weight of a flight’s passengers, cargo, and luggage.
This event occurred fewer than ten days after over 50 passengers arrived without their bags due to a weight-related issue on the initial flight’s return to Auckland.
Another return flight on September 23, 2022, nearly stopped for fuel at Nadi, Fiji, but was saved when changes to the route were made in the air.
The airline expects significantly heavier headwinds as winter in North America approaches. A potential solution, according to Morgan, would be to lower the number of passengers allowed on the journey from New York to Auckland.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner used for this service has 215 economy seats, 33 premium economy seats, and 27 business class seats.
The trip from New York to Auckland is now the fourth-longest flight in operation worldwide.