United Airlines and Air New Zealand on March 27, announced plans for new nonstop service between Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Auckland, New Zealand beginning on Nov. 30.
Air New Zealand will operate three times weekly, year-round service between Chicago and Auckland with 275-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Flight time will be approximately 15 hours northbound and just over 16 hours southbound.
This service is the first ever nonstop passenger route between Chicago and the region of Australasia. By the end of 2018, with this new service, Chicago will be one of a select few cities globally that have nonstop passenger air service to all six major inhabited regions of the world (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America).
"The addition of flights from Chicago to New Zealand is great news for the city of Chicago and O'Hare International Airport," said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation. "We are pleased that this service will further expand Chicago O'Hare's connectivity to the world, boosting Chicago's growing tourism and generating new economic activity."
The new service announcement deepens the joint venture relationship between Air New Zealand and United Airlines. It will provide customers with opportunities to conveniently connect with just one stop to 66 destinations in the U.S. Midwest and East Coast regions. United Airlines operates more flights from its hub at O'Hare International Airport than any other airline, with more than 500 flights to 147 airports across the United States.
The addition of new widebody international service has a significant impact on the Chicago area economy. The Chicago - Auckland route is estimated to generate approximately $75 million in annual economic activity for the region.
Including this new service, airlines at O'Hare have either announced plans for, or have started, nine new international services in 2018 - a testament to Chicago's strong air connectivity. O'Hare is ranked number one for connectivity among U.S. mega hub airports, for the highest ratio of possible scheduled connections to number of destinations served.