SAN FRANCISCO, July 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning today, traveling between the West Coast and the South Pacific just got easier as United Airlines launches new nonstop service between its premier Pacific gateway at San Francisco International Airport and Auckland, New Zealand.
United's inaugural service to Auckland also marks the official start of the airline's joint venture agreement with Air New Zealand. The carriers are deepening their existing Star Alliance relationship by offering customers even more choice and convenience when booking travel between the United States and New Zealand and beyond.
"Our new joint venture with Air New Zealand allows both airlines to optimize our trans-Pacific schedules and offer customers more choice and convenience when traveling between the U.S. and New Zealand," said Jim Compton, United's vice chairman and chief revenue officer. "Our customers wanted new ways to access New Zealand and destinations beyond and our relationship with Air New Zealand allows customers to plan seamless travel throughout the South Pacific."
Powering United's inaugural flight between San Francisco and New Zealand is an innovative energy-saving partnership with the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE). United will operate Boeing 787-8 aircraft on the San Francisco to Auckland inaugural route, which are built using lightweight composites, state-of-the-art engines and an improved aerodynamic design, allowing it to fly farther, faster and more efficiently than similar-sized conventional aircraft.
As part of the Aspire Initiative air traffic providers will also support optimal flight paths and recommend real-time, dynamic reroutes, further optimizing efficiency after departure throughout the entire flight. Additionally, ground crews at the departure and arrival locations will work to reduce aircraft idle time, providing expedited taxi to the runway and gate.
"We understand the importance of reducing our carbon footprint, even as we expand our global network. Working with ASPIRE is just one way we're demonstrating our environmental leadership within the industry," said Compton.
Welcome News for Adventure Travelers
Auckland is known as the "City of Sails," and there couldn't be a more appropriate nickname. The vibrant and modern city is situated on both the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, nestled by harbors on the glimmering blue waters. The surrounding areas are ripe with natural beauty, from sandy beaches to snow-covered mountain peaks. New Zealand's many hiking trails, waterways and picturesque forests offer adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts the perfect getaway.
"We know that New Zealand is a popular destination for American travelers," said Air New Zealand's Chief Sales and Commercial Officer Cam Wallace. "By working more closely with such a strong carrier like United Airlines, we look forward to welcoming even more American visitors to enjoy our unique Kiwi tourism experience."
United Flight 917 will depart San Francisco at 10:45 p.m. three times weekly, arriving at Auckland International Airport at 6:55 a.m. two days later due to time zone differences (all times local). On the return, Flight 916 will depart Auckland at 1:20 p.m. daily, arriving at San Francisco International Airport at 6:40 a.m. the same day. Flying times will be approximately 13 hours westbound and 12 hours, 20 minutes eastbound.
United's joint venture partner Air New Zealand operates a daily service between San Francisco and Auckland, departing San Francisco at 9:45 p.m. and arriving in Auckland at 5:35 a.m. two days later due to time differences. The return flight departs Auckland at 7:45 p.m. and arrives in San Francisco at 12:45pm the same day.
United's San Francisco Hub
United and United Express jointly operate more than 250 daily flights between San Francisco and 90 destinations throughout North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
United's service to Auckland is one of five new international destinations the airline is launching this year from San Francisco. The flight will be operated three times weekly until October 30, and will increase to daily service beginning Monday, November 1. Since March, the airline has added new nonstop service from the hub to Tel Aviv; Xi'an China; Singapore and will begin new service to Hangzhou, China on July 13.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,000 flights a day to 336 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated more than 1.5 million flights carrying more than 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 715 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 21 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 86,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
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SOURCE United Airlines