The new route provides a fifth gateway for visitors to fly non-stop from the United States to New Zealand and vice versa. It will be the first direct flight to New Zealand from the north-east, making the east coast of the USA more accessible than ever before.
“Air New Zealand’s new Chicago route makes New Zealand more accessible than ever to one of our most important tourism markets,” says Mr England-Hall.
“The United States is an incredibly important market for our industry, with 222,000 holiday visitors each year contributing more than $850 million to the economy.”
The United States market is continuing to show strong interest in New Zealand, with a 11.3 percent increase in holiday visitor arrivals for the year to February 2018. Tourism New Zealand has run significant activity in the country over the last year including a Bryce Dallas Howard and National Geographic campaign, and specialist travel agent training reaching over 5,000 agents across cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Dallas.
Mr England-Hall says that the new route is another example of international tourism bringing benefits to everyday New Zealanders.
“New Zealanders now have more travel options than ever before thanks to our growing international tourism industry.
“As a direct result of more international visitors picking New Zealand as their preferred travel destination, we’re seen an almost 20 percent reduction in the cost of international flights over the past 10 years, and a significant increase in the number of airlines flying to New Zealand.”
The Auckland to Chicago route is the latest in growing USA airline capacity, which saw the addition of the Auckland to Houston route in December 2015.
There are currently more than 45 direct flights a week from the USA to New Zealand.