From the warm waters of Oceania to the windiest streets in North America in one easy 15-to-16-hour flight – that’s the latest network growth plan over at Air New Zealand.

Taking off in less than eight months (30 November) is Air New Zealand’s new direct service with United Airlines flying between Auckland and Chicago.

The new service will fly three times weekly on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and will take around 15-to-16 hours to complete each way, making it Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s longest flight, The Chicago Tribune reported.

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Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Christopher Luxon, described the direct route as “good news” for New Zealand as it will contribute greatly to the economy.

“We expect it [the route] to contribute around $70 million annually to our economy.”

Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand Chief Executive

For Kiwis, Auckland-Chicago flights will give them a fifth option for flying non-stop to North America, outside of the existing Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco and Vancouver routes.

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Additionally, they’ll have easy connections to over 100 destinations across the US through the carrier’s codeshare partner, United.

Air New Zealand’s announced comes less than 24 hours after Qantas flagged the windy city as a next possible destination for its ultra long-haul Dreamliners.

READ: Qantas may fly direct from Brisbane to Seattle or Chicago

READ: Air NZ launches the world’s coolest safety video

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