Browsing Tag: AKL

Big network expansion out of LAX for American, with eight new destinations all starting June 2.

Big network expansion out of LAX for American, with eight new destinations all starting June 2

On June 2, American commenced a major expansion of its route network, with 21 new nonstop routes this month. This includes 10 new destinations just from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), marking the largest expansion ever at LAX.

Thursday saw the largest number of inaugural flights, with eight ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Los Angeles that day, something the carrier had never done before in its history. I was invited to be part of the festivities and join the entourage, which included Jim Moses, the Managing Director (MD) for American at LAX. What does a day full of ribbon cutting ceremonies look like, you ask…?

The departure lounge for Gate 41 at LAX, for American's inaugural flight to SYD.

The departure lounge for Gate 41 at LAX, for American’s inaugural flight to SYD. #AvGeeks cringe at this banner…

Updated 12/22/2015 @ 4:38pm PT

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With critters, music, food, gifts, and didgeridoos on hand, American Airlines celebrated its inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Sydney last Thursday, marking the first time the airline has directly flown to Australia from the contiguous 48 states with its own aircraft, this route featuring its flagship Boeing 777-300ER.

But even hard-core AvGeeks would be hard pressed  to focus on the 777 on the other side of the windows when there was a baby kangaroo (WHAT?!)…

The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the flight line at Paine Field (KPAE). Photo by Bernie Leighton.

The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the flight line at Paine Field (KPAE) – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is expected to be delivered to Air New Zealand sometime in mid-2014. Before then, the aircraft has quite a few tests to complete prior to being certified, and Boeing has one fun adventure planned starting this weekend.

According to the Australian Business Traveller (AusBT), the Dreamliner will conduct stop-overs during testing in Auckland, Brisbane, and Alice Springs.

Not only will this allow the 787-9 to spread its wings, but it will also give those of you who live in the area a chance to catch one of the first glimpses of the longer Dreamliner.

Air New Zealand's new white fern livery seen on the 787-9 Dreamliner. Image from Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand’s new white fern livery seen on the 787-9 Dreamliner – Image: Air New Zealand

The test aircraft will take advantage of Australia’s hot temperatures in Alice Springs to test out the stretched Dreamliner. The plane flown down will be the second of three test aircraft Boeing is currently using, ZB002. It will be set up with a bunch of different testing equipment and Boeing tells AirlineReporter it will also, “be fitted with elements of the passenger interior.” Boeing will test the plane’s environmental control system and chose Alice Springs because the location, “meets specific test requirements for both facility and atmospheric conditions.”

“Boeing is proud to bring the 787-9 to Auckland to show Air New Zealand what the team has achieved,” said Mark Jenks, vice president, 787 Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With more than 150 flights since testing began in September, the test fleet continues to perform very well, and we look forward to delivering the first 787-9 in mid-2014 as promised.”

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330s at the terminal in Honolulu - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330s at the terminal in Honolulu – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

Getting to New Zealand from the United States is a very limited affair.  The only way to get there directly is with Air New Zealand and at some times of the year (around Christmas, especially) capacity becomes limited due to operating only three daily flights (two from LAX, one from SFO).

More recently a new choice was offered to New Zealand; Hawaiian Airlines flying from Honolulu (HNL) to Auckland (AKL). The new flights started in March and they fly three times a week between the two cities.

Using their new Airbus A330-200 aircraft, Hawaiian’s service to the south Pacific allows one-stop service from a number of west coast cities (although all cities, apart from Seattle, require an overnight stay in Honolulu when southbound).  After I had flown down to Hawaii from Seattle and spent a brief two hours in the warmth that permeates Honolulu airport, it was time to board another Hawaiian aircraft for my journey to New Zealand.