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.