American Airlines will drop its Auckland-Los Angeles service for eight weeks later this year.

It will drop flights between August 7 and October 6.

"This eight-week suspension is in line with the airline's peak season in North America,'' it said.

American began flying the route to Auckland last June around the time competitor United Airlines did. United has also dropped its daily service between Auckland and San Francisco from April 18 to October 30.


The temporary withdrawal of flights will dent the travel market which had seen double-digit growth between the two countries in the past year. Intense competition between the US carriers and Air New Zealand had driven down fares.

An American Airlines spokesman said it would be contacting all customers affected by any flights that were cancelled between now and the resumption of service.

''We are also working closely with our travel agent partners to determine the best options for our mutual customers. We already have a flexible waiver in place, which enables our customers to rebook through Sydney, change travel dates and/or request a full refund."

While American is dropping out for two months, it will return with a bigger aircraft, a Boeing 787-9 which will include a premium economy cabin, and new business class suites.

The Boeing 787-9 has 285 seats in total, 59 seats more than the current Boeing 787-8 American uses on the route.

American Airlines general manager Australia and New Zealand Simon Dodd said it would be the first time a US carrier had offered premium economy across the Pacific.

''Premium economy is an increasingly popular option for customers who want an elevated experience on their journey to Los Angeles and beyond."

There will be 30 business class seats, 21 premium economy and 234 in the main cabin.

Dodd said customers travelling in premium economy would experience an enhanced product offering including amenity kits and noise-reducing headphones together with an enhanced meal service with complimentary wine, beer and spirits.


According to consultants OAG, American Airlines carried 201 million passengers during the past year and by seats available is the biggest carrier in the world.