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Air New Zealand to pause Chicago service

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Air New Zealand to pause Chicago service
Air New Zealand will pause its direct service between Auckland and Chicago for more than six months.

The direct service between New Zealand and the USA’s mid-west hub will not run between March 31 and October 25 this year.

The service, which cuts travel time by at least three hours compared to one-stop routes, is being paused due to issues with the Rolls-Royce engines used in the Boeing 787s which fly the route.

The engines require increased-frequency inspections and maintenance offshore meaning aircraft using these engines spend more time on the ground when maintenance is being undertaken.  

The pause falls in the prime business events window for Australia and New Zealand as well as the warmer months of the northern hemisphere, when groups may be travelling to North America for incentives and conferences.

The interruption to the Auckland-Chicago service has the potential to put a dampener on short lead business events for Auckland from the US or for outbound New Zealand groups considering America’s mid-west in the period the service will not operate.

“We know this will be disappointing for customers travelling to and from Chicago during this period,” said Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.

“It’s not a decision we’ve made lightly and we’re sorry to make this change so close to the time some customers plan to fly.

“Unfortunately, Air New Zealand continues to be impacted by challenges with availability of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, meaning we will now have up to three aircraft unavailable for an extended period, so we’ve had to review our schedule.

“We made the tough decision to temporarily pause the Chicago route while maintaining our schedule of up to 35 flights each week to six ports across the US and Canada, so there are still plenty of options to get to Chicago, the US and beyond,” she said.

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