Chicago Once Again One of Five Cities on Earth with Direct Air Service to All Inhabited Continents

October 28, 2022

Air New Zealand Restarts Nonstop Service from O’Hare to Auckland


CHICAGO — Air New Zealand will re-launch its direct service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Auckland Airport on Sunday, resuming a direct link to New Zealand’s largest city and reestablishing Chicago as one of just five cities on the planet with direct air service to every inhabited continent, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced today. 

"I am thrilled to announce the reconnection between O'Hare and Auckland airports and further establish Chicago as a premier, well-connected city," said Mayor Lightfoot. "This latest step, among O'Hare's many other new and exciting developments, not only ensures the excellence of our international airport but keeps Chicago a competitive, world-class city. I am grateful to CDA for the success of our airports and I thank Air New Zealand for this partnership." 

Chicago joins a list of five cities that offer direct service to the planet’s six inhabited regions: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Chicago and New York are the only cities in the Americas to offer this opportunity to their residents, and join London, Dubai and Doha in this distinction. The Auckland service will be offered three times per week at least through April. 

Each new widebody aircraft making once daily, international service to Chicago can generate between $150 and $200 million in annual economic impact for the Chicago region. The three times-weekly Auckland route is estimated to generate approximately $75 million in annual economic activity for the region. 

“For the first time in six years, O’Hare is the best connected airport in the world, according to the Official Aviation Guide (OAG),” said Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee of the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), which owns and operates both O’Hare and Midway international airports. “I thank Air New Zealand for their partnership in further expanding that connectivity by re-establishing this service, and I welcome Kiwis to Chicago to discover all that our global city has to offer.” 

The connectivity ranking from OAG, announced last month, goes beyond the size of an airport’s route network, and measures the number of connections possible within a specific time frame. The rankings also take into account the relative attractiveness of each airport as a connecting point for scheduled domestic air passengers. 

Other recent international service news in Chicago includes:

  • Air Nippon Airways is resuming its daily service from O’Hare to Tokyo Haneda on Sunday, Oct. 30, following a lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Japan, which complements its existing daily service to Tokyo Narita airport 
  • American Airlines will launch service from O’Hare to Owen Roberts International Airport in the Cayman Islands on Saturday, Nov. 19 
  • Frontier Airlines will launch service from Midway to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in February 2023  
  • United Airlines will launch seasonal service from O’Hare to Barcelona, Spain and Shannon, Ireland in spring 2023 

International passengers arriving at O’Hare will be greeted with a newly revamped Terminal 5, where construction crews are wrapping work on a $1 billion renovation that’s already opened seven new gates since this summer. The work at Terminal 5 is a part of the larger O’Hare 21 initiative, and it will add approximately 350,000 square feet of terminal space, replace the baggage handling system, increase passenger amenity space by 75%, and a revamped Customs and Border Protection center that will reduce queuing. 

For more information on Air New Zealand or to book a trip, visit



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