The antipodal RTW will soon be viable

There’s no good reason that I should be so excited about the ability for a single alliance to transport passengers around the world wholly south of the equator. Actually there’s probably no reason at all to be excited about it. But here I am. Air New Zealand is launching thrice weekly service between Auckland and Buenos Aires in December 2015. Once that happens it will be possible for a single alliance to get a passenger all the way around the world while staying in the southern hemisphere.

Get ready for an antipodal RTW on a single alliance, thanks to a new route from Air New Zealand starting in December 2015
Get ready for an antipodal RTW on a single alliance, thanks to a new route from Air New Zealand starting in December 2015

Crossing the South Pacific Ocean is currently the realm of Qantas and LAN; the former flies from Santiago to Sydney non-stop while the latter makes the trip with a break in Auckland. The new ANZ flight will compete with the LAN operation.

The new route Air New Zealand is launching next winter
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Getting across the South Atlantic Ocean is mostly handled by South African Airways these days, though the carrier did recently kill Buenos Aires as a destination. It does still offer service from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

And crossing the South Indian Ocean is possible thanks to the South African Airways flight from Perth to Jo’burg. Qantas also offers service from Sydney but there is no oneworld partner covering the necessary routes in the South Atlantic.

South African Airways plays a big part in an antipodal RTW plan
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

And getting from Perth to Auckland is also handled by Air New Zealand.

As for the gap between Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, that’s a fun one. Star Alliance will eventually get Avianca Brazil into the alliance and that could help out in that region but that still doesn’t offer the international connection needed. And TAM went to oneworld as part of the LAN merger. Have no fear, however, for Turkish Airlines will fill the gap. There is a daily 5th freedom flight operated by Turkish between the two cities with continuing service from Sao Paulo to Istanbul.

Put that all together and the antipodal RTW on a single alliance is now very much real. At least it will be in December 2015 when the new ANZ flight launches. That’s all sorts of AvGeek fun.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Excitement about this from the guy who flew all the JetBlue ROUTES shouldn’t be too surprising. 🙂

    1. I don’t have all of the JetBlue routes yet, though I did have all the domestic destinations at one point. 😀

      I need another AYCJ pass so I can stock up. But I’m pretty sure they know what a bad idea that is.

    1. I’m just saying that it will be possible, Brian, not that I’m booking it yet. Besides, if I’m that close to Antarctica I’ll probably want to actually step foot on it as well. 😀

      1. You and me both, Seth. You and me both.

        I am certain that — like me — Antarctica is the only continent to which you have not been to yet…

  2. I assume this is the first twin engine flight across the Southern Pacific/Southern Ocean I know ETOPS 330 lets a 777 fly almost anywhere, but there really isn’t much place to land down there.

  3. Cool route — although I tend to agree with you Seth – if I’m that close to Antarctica, I’d like to step foot on it as well.

  4. I thought an antipodal route is from one point on Earth to its opposite side (example is Christchurch, NZ and Coruña, Spain.)
    Nonetheless that is a cool route around Antarctica!

  5. I should have guessed @Wandering Aramean would have the same thought I had when I saw the new route announced.

    @Brian Cohen it is normal for the flights between Australasia and South America to see Antarctica and also for flights between Sydney and Johannesburg (I’m not sure about Perth to/from Johannesburg). Johannesburg to Sao Paulo is of course too far north. I’ve done these routes SYD-EZE, AKL-SCL, SYD-JNB, JNB-GRU. I never got to fly Aerolineas Argentinas when it did EZE-AKL-SYD; but I have flown the other leg of the southern RTW (GRU-EZE) albeit on BA.

    @Alan no MH dropped JNB, CPT and EZE from their network a few years ago.

  6. Forgot to add – depending on dates & schedule I will try for the inaugural flight(s). I’ve been on quite a few of Air NZ’s inaugural flights (as well as many on other airlines). Sometimes they are great and other times meh.

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