Air New Zealand (NZ, Auckland Int'l) has announced that it will terminate its only European service, from Auckland Int'l to London Heathrow, in October 2020, replacing it with a new ultra-long-haul service to New York Newark.

"Visitor growth to New Zealand is strongest from North America and performance of our new service to Chicago O'Hare is exceeding expectations. 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," Acting Chief Executive Jeff McDowall said in a press release.

Air New Zealand’s only European route has been operating since 1982. It is currently served daily using B777-300(ER) equipment via Los Angeles Int'l. The airline said that it chose to announce the end of the service with a year’s notice to allow it to "support its people" and minimise the impact to customers.

Air New Zealand said that the closure of the London base will lead to the reduction of around 155 jobs, including 130 crew based in the UK and 25 sales positions.

The airline said that due to growing competition and the lack of home market advantage, it was not able to effectively compete with other carriers in the Atlantic market.

"Today Kiwis have more than twice the number of ways to fly to London than a decade ago and preferences have changed. Less than 7% of all airline travellers between Auckland and London chose to fly via Los Angeles last year," McDowall said.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, there are no other direct services between New Zealand and Europe.

The replacement route to Newark will operate 3x weekly using B787-9s equipped with 275 seats, including 215 in economy class, 33 in premium economy, and 27 in business. The service will become Air New Zealand’s longest non-stop route, and the world’s fifth-longest. Newark will be the airline's sixth destination in the United States after Chicago, Houston Intc'l, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, CA. The launch of the flights is still subject to regulatory and crewing arrangements.

Other carriers connecting New Zealand and the mainland United States include Hawaiian Airlines (from Honolulu), American Airlines (Los Angeles), United Airlines (San Francisco), and Air Tahiti Nui (from Los Angeles via Papeete).