Rumor: Air New Zealand Will Announce Chicago Flight Next Month

Air New Zealand has arranged for former U.S. President Barack Obama to visit New Zealand for an event on March 21. The visit is “due to be announced this [coming] week.”

President Obama will golf with Former New Zealand Prime Minister and current Air New Zealand board member Sir John Key on the trip.

According to the Deputy Political Editor of the New Zealand Herald the purpose of Air New Zealand sponsoring this trip is an announcement of new U.S. service, “likely Chicago which is Obama’s home town.”

Auckland – Chicago is eminently possible with Air New Zealand’s current fleet of Boeing 777-200ER, -300ER, and 787-9 long haul aircraft. In fact the flight wouldn’t even be among the 10 longest in the world.

It would, however, be Air New Zealand’s longest flight — 700 miles longer than Auckland – Houston, and also longer than their current Auckland – Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver flights.

And while there’s likely to be limited direct Chicago – New Zealand traffic, Air New Zealand’s current destinations in the U.S. are United Airlines hubs — as is Chicago — and this would open up more convenient connections throughout the Northeast. It would also position Air New Zealand competitively as the West Coast – New Zealand market has become saturated with new United (San Francisco) and American (Los Angeles) service.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. As someone near-ish to Chicago, I am all for new service to O’Hare like this. Get Qantas to join the Chicago party too as far as I am concerned. Granted, I’d prefer an airline that actually offered awards in Biz rather than Qantas. But, beggars can’t be choosers.

  2. When do you think this will happen, Gary? We are in the midst of planning a DTW-PPT-SYD-PBI itinerary for after a Thanksgiving.

  3. Written from a US perspective. AKL is a hub for Australian connecting services who would prefer not to transit at SFO or more especially LaX

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