Air New Zealand Further Suspends Chicago Route Through Late 2025

by Anthony Losanno
Air New Zealand Plane

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Last month, I wrote about how Star Alliance carrier, Air New Zealand, had announced that it would be suspending its Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to/from Auckland Airport (AUK) route from March 31st through October 25th. This is due to ongoing availability challenges for serviceable Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, which power its Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Now, the airline has pushed the date to restart flying between these two cities until the second half of 2025.

This route originated in November 2018 and ran through March 2020. It was then paused due to the pandemic and restarted in October 2022. Air New Zealand will continue to fly to five destinations in the United States. These include:

  • Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • New York John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Scott Carr, Air New Zealand’s General Manager of Long Haul, said:

Unfortunately, ongoing challenges with the availability of Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines on our 787-9 aircraft means we haven’t been able to return to our Chicago route in October as expected. We anticipate returning to Chicago when we receive our new 787 aircraft from Boeing, currently expected in the second half of 2025.


Over the next few days, our teams will be in touch directly with customers who have bookings on our Chicago route from October to share their options, so they do not need to contact us proactively. Those who booked via a travel agent should contact their agent to confirm changes to their itinerary.


While we know this news of a further pause will be disappointing for customers with travel plans to Chicago, there are still plenty of options to travel to the city with a stopover in another US port.”

Lucky at One Mile at a Time thinks that the route might not come back at all and I have to agree with his logic. Air New Zealand used to be the only nonstop option from the United States. In recent years, American, Delta, and United have all launched New Zealand flights.

According to Air New Zealand, Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines require heavy maintenance. They are removed from the aircraft and sent to the manufacturer after every 1,000 engine cycles (takeoffs and landings). During recent inspections, Air New Zealand determined that these engines need maintenance after 750 to 800 cycles. In order to accomplish this, the planes need to be taken out of service more frequently.

Customers booked on Air New Zealand’s Chicago route will be automatically rebooked. If they do not wish to rebook with a connection, Air New Zealand is offering refunds.

Anthony’s Take: This flight has long been on my list of routes that I wanted to fly. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is my home base during much of the year and I hope it returns as planned.

(Featured Image Credit: Will Waters.)

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