Honey and lambs drive American’s new NZ route

American Airlines Boeing 787

American Airlines Cargo is targeting more growth on its Auckland (AKL) to Los Angeles (LAX) service that was started six months ago.

Since the route’s mid-year launch in 2016, the carrier says it has seen consistent, rapid expansion – a developing story it explains is perfectly illustrated by the short notice shipment of a world renowned honey.

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka plant, but usually it is moved by ocean freight, but last week, on short notice, American was called upon to carry the honey for the first time; an 8.6 tonne shipment from AKL to LAX, then on to Heathrow Airport – and did so swiftly to meet deadlines for a contract in the UK.

Additionally, the carrier says lamb shipments from AKL have also exceeded expectations since the launch of this specific route, providing a level of confidence that has resulted in additional high-volume lamb shipments for the approaching Easter holiday.

GSA Cargo country manager, Carolyn Evans who works for the carrier’s sales agent in Australasia says: “Customers across New Zealand are benefiting from the tremendous scope of American’s global network.

“Conversely, the onwards connections from the Los Angeles gateway to both Europe and South America are proving particularly popular because of the number of industries that need to airfreight goods out of New Zealand. Today, more than 50 per cent of what we export is bound for destinations beyond Los Angeles.”

Typical LAX-AKL flights now contain both general freight and perishable cargo with items such as medical equipment, locks and printed matter, alongside the more traditional meat, fish and fresh fruit products for which New Zealand has long been associated.

Evans adds: “We are currently gearing up for another big fruit and flower season in 2017,” who notes recent bad weather including snow on the south island has impacted exports, which have delayed the season slightly.

She adds: “Sub-tropicals, like passion fruit, will soon be coming on stream—and in the meantime, we are busy with wine, shoes, wool products and band equipment.”

American provides a daily, direct flight from New Zealand to LAX with its new Boeing 787 aircraft, offering connections beyond the US to China, Japan, London and Sao Paulo.