Air New Zealand and United Airlines strengthen their joint venture. The New Zealand company will open a route between Auckland and Chicago at the end of November, while its American partner will extend its route between San Francisco and Auckland annually.
Air New Zealand’s new route between Auckland and Chicago-O’Hare airports will launch on 30 November 2018 with three flights per week. The two destinations will then be connected by a non-stop flight for the first time in history. It will also be the longest flight served from Chicago. The 13,171-kilometre route will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, with the new cabin configuration featuring 275 seats in three classes, including 27 in business class, 33 in premium economy class, and 215 in economy class.
Flight time is approximately 15 hours from New Zealand and 16 hours from the United States. Flights are scheduled to depart from Auckland on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 8:10pm, arriving at 4:15pm the same day depending on the date line. In the other direction, the flight will also depart Chicago on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 7:10 p.m., landing in Oakland two days later at 6:10 a.m.
“We will work alongside our colleagues at United Airlines to grow the route and visitor numbers in both directions.” Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon said.
Chicago will become Air New Zealand’s sixth destination in North America, following Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.
The new service strengthens the joint venture between Air New Zealand and United Airlines It was implemented in July 2016. Customers of Star Alliance member airlines will be able to connect in Chicago to 66 destinations in the Midwest and East Coast regions of the United States. United Airlines is the primary operator at O’Hare International Airport.
Additionally, from summer 2019, American will increase its annual route between Auckland and San Francisco, with three flights per week which will complement Air New Zealand’s existing daily service. United will use a Boeing 777-300ER equipped with New Polaris Business Class Between November and March, and the Boeing 777-200ER between April and October.
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