As New Zealand Day approaches, American Airlines Cargo reflects on the last six months of its new service between Los Angeles (LAX) and the New Zealand city of Auckland (AKL). Since the route’s mid-year launch in 2016, the carrier has seen consistent, rapid expansion—a developing story perfectly illustrated by the short notice shipment of a world renowned honey.
Manuka honey, lauded for its healing properties, is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka plant. The transport of this honey, which is used in the treatment of a number of illnesses from soar throats to digestive problems, requires delicate handling.
Usually the honey is moved by ocean freight, but last January 2016, on short notice, American was called upon to carry the honey for the first time; a 19,000-pound (8.6 tonnes) shipment from AKL to LAX, then on to London Heathrow (LHR)—and did so swiftly and smoothly in order to meet deadlines for a contract in the UK.
Additionally, 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.
“Customers across New Zealand are benefiting from the tremendous scope of American’s global network,” states Carolyn Evans, country manager for GSA Cargo—the airline’s global sales agent in Australasia. “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 percent 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.
“We are currently gearing up for another big fruit and flower season in 2017,” adds Evans, who notes that recent bad weather including snow on the south island has impacted exports, which have delayed the season slightly. “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, fuel-efficient Boeing 787 aircraft, offering connections beyond the U.S. to China, Japan, London and Sao Paulo.