Will Air New Zealand gazump Qantas with direct flights to Chicago?

By David Flynn, February 5 2018

Is Air New Zealand about to beat Qantas to the punch by announcing non-stop flights to Chicago?

That's the current buzz, based on a forthcoming visit to the land of the long white cloud by former US President and son of Chicago Barack Obama.

The New Zealand Herald reports the visit, set for "about March 21", has been arranged by Air New Zealand via the close relationship between former NZ Prime Minister and current AirNZ board member Sir John Key, and will be used to announce the start of direct flights between Auckland and Chicago.

This would be Obama's first trip to New Zealand and come with a reported $400,000 price tag, although Air New Zealand would bet that the extensive publicity generated by Obama's visit would be priceless.

Air New Zealand has long tapped Australian travellers for its international services to the USA and South America, with Auckland as a sole stopover; from stateside, Chicago is also a hub for Star Alliance partner United Airlines.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has previously tipped Chicago as one of three potential routes for its own Boeing 787-9 fleet – the other candidates include Seattle and Dallas/Forth Worth.

However, as this would rely on one of the Boeing 787s based in Brisbane, Qantas travellers from Sydney and Melbourne would first need to fly north to Brisbane and be bussed from the domestic to international terminal before hopping onto the Chicago-bound Dreamliner.

There's also been speculation that additional US services out of Brisbane could run only a handful of days each week, rather than the daily frequency prized by travellers and especially corporate flyers, due to Qantas planning for 11 Brisbane-Los Angeles Boeing 787s by the end of 2018.

David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 918

Maybe QF is putting the 11 weekly 787 BNE-LAX because they don't yet know what they will do for the other route, and they need to do something with the aircraft and will cut back to 7 weekly once they see bookings and work out what they are doing.

Covvers

Covvers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 96

Sir John was one of the best PMs that our friends across the ditch have ever had. Good to see he remains involved with Air NZ and marketing his fine country to the world.

sanj747

sanj747

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 82

Interesting stage with new routes being touted in a somewhat tug of war between QF and ANZ. ANZ are awesome and a top notch airline based on past experiences of flying them long haul. Sir John and President Obama will only help them. Sitting in Sydney and if I were to fly to Chicago, transitting through Auckland would be better than Brisbane. If flying QF then transitting through Dallas would be better than having to go via BNE. All in all more choices coming for the traveller.

bsb

bsb

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 70

NZ plans ahead and takes risks. End of story.

billybaz

billybaz

05 Feb 2018

Total posts 1

If I was going to Chicago or near there then going from Sydney if Air NZ can do that I’d rather transfer in Auckland than in Brisbane or through LA or Dallas. Auckland’s pretty good and the Air NZ flights to the West Coast US are at good times.

afloskar

afloskar

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 130

This would be hilarious. Air NZ near zero media attention cut to the chase. Qantas non-stop media attention yet no action (yet)

Austin

Austin

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2015

Total posts 24

Huh ? No JFK direct yet is there...

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

They may be waiting to see findings on the load issues on Perth London as Brisbane Chicago is also quite a ways, and they don’t want to be dropping too many seats on the way back.

krisdude

krisdude

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 159

It will interesting to see if Air NZ will do AKL/ORD non-stop service as United hasn't been that keen on idea. Air NZ 13th B787-9 with increase premium product will be delivered this year. If it happens, it will differently trump Qantas plans, allowing Air NZ to MEL/ADL/SYD/BNE to AKL and ORD routing for Australian travelers.

Wiz

Wiz

25 Sep 2017

Total posts 5

MEL SYD and BNE can do one stop to ORD already. Not sure AKL stop will appeal

Mr Mink

Mr Mink

QFF

16 Nov 2014

Total posts 17

Interesting how Air NZ was almost technically bankrupt a little while ago, bailed out by the govt, then rapidly back in the black. They also jumped on the B787 way earlier than QF, who gave it to Jetstar to save fuel money and lower costs, thus snubbing the high-end market who love trying new planes. QF "strategy" with the B787 is pretty rubbish, for an airline at the A end of the world, as is Air NZ.

Wiz

Wiz

25 Sep 2017

Total posts 5

I think Air NZ should return to FRA but do it via PER.

Opens up a new market for them and connects to their Star alliance partner LH.

Do a deal with SQ and LH on code share.

Now that would gazump QF.


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