Australasia has been linked to the US Midwest by a nonstop service for the first time, with the launch of Air New Zealand flights between Auckland and Chicago.
Becoming Air NZ’s longest service - at 15 hours northbound and 16 hours southbound - the new flights will operate three times per week, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Utilising the carrier’s B787-9 Dreamliner, NZ26 made its debut last Friday.
"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 will provide customers with convenient one-stop codeshare connections to around 100 destinations across the US,” said Air NZ CEO Christopher Luxon, who was on board the inaugural flight.
"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 NZD$70 million annually to our economy – and we know 50 percent of spending by US visitors is done outside the main centres.”
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