Chicago joins Air New Zealand’s destination network

Air NZ's longest route launched

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Air New Zealand commenced services on its newest international route between Auckland and Chicago last Friday afternoon. Flight NZ26 departed at 5:01pm local time in Auckland and landed in Chicago at 12:11pm local time in Chicago. With a flight time of approximately 15 hours northbound (and just over 16 hours southbound), the flight is Air New Zealand’s longest, taking over from Auckland–Houston, which has a flight time of 13.5 hours.

Chicago is Air New Zealand’s sixth North American gateway, with the flight to Auckland also the longest from O’Hare International Airport to any global destination.

Touch down of Flight NZXX at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on its inaugural service
Touch down of Flight NZ26 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on its inaugural service | Photo credit: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon, who travelled on the inaugural flight, says the airline’s new route means exciting new opportunities for travellers to explore the United States’ third-largest city, along with more of the East Coast of the US and Canada.

“With our alliance partner, United, operating more flights out of its hub of O’Hare International Airport than any other airline, the new service to Chicago provides customers with convenient one-stop codeshare connections to approximately 100 destinations across the US,” he said.

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon, flanked by cabin crew Jessica Brennan and Vishal Patel.
Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon, flanked by cabin crew | Photo credit: Air New Zealand

“New Zealand already welcomes around 340,000 visitors annually from the US and we anticipate this number will grow with the introduction of this new service. We expect the route will contribute around NZ$70 million annually to our economy, and we know 50% of spending by US visitors is done outside the main centres,” Luxon said.

Chicago lures 55 million visitors each year. Among the biggest attractions are: Chicago’s fascinating history, world-class museums and stunning architecture; the internationally renowned jazz and blues scene; and award-winning restaurants and culinary dishes, including the iconic deep-dish pizza.

David Whittaker, Choose Chicago President & CEO; Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand CEO; Rich Butler; Kelvin Davis, New Zealand Tourism Minister; Tony Carter, Air New Zealand Chairman - flanked by Air New Zealand cabin crew.
David Whittaker, Choose Chicago President & CEO; Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand CEO; Rich Butler, Chicago Department of Aviation Interim First Deputy Commissioner; Kelvin Davis, New Zealand Tourism Minister; Tony Carter, Air New Zealand Chairman – flanked by Air New Zealand cabin crew | Photo credit: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s direct Auckland-Chicago service, operated by its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, will depart Auckland on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday as follows:

Flight No.

Operated by

Aircraft type

Departs

Arrives

Effective dates

Frequency

NZ26 
(UA6728)

Air New 
Zealand

Boeing 787-9 
Dreamliner

Auckland
20:10

Chicago

16:15

2 Dec 2018 –

8 Mar 2019

Wed, Fri, 
Sun

NZ26 
(UA6728)

Air New 
Zealand

Boeing 787-9 
Dreamliner

Auckland

20:10

Chicago

17:15

10 Mar 2019 – 
29 Mar 2019

Wed, Fri, 
Sun

NZ27

(UA6727)

Air New 
Zealand

Boeing 787-9 
Dreamliner

Chicago

19:10

Auckland

06:30+2

30 Nov 2018 –

8 Mar 2019

Wed, Fri, 
Sun

NZ27

(UA6727)

Air New 
Zealand

Boeing 787-9 
Dreamliner

Chicago

20:10

Auckland

06:30+2

10 Mar 2019 – 
29 Mar 2019

Wed, Fri, 
Sun

 

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon didn't take long to embrace the city, donning a Chicago Bears baseball cap on arrival.
Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon didn’t take long to embrace the city, donning a Chicago Bears baseball cap on arrival | Photo credit: Air New Zealand

Guests on the departing flight back to Auckland were greeted at O’Hare International Airport with a traditional Maori dance.

Photo credit: Air New Zealand

All images supplied by Air New Zealand.

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