Air New Zealand Halts Chicago Flights Amid Engine Issues

Image of a flying Air New Zealand Boeing 787
Air New Zealand Boeing 787 - Photo Credit Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has announced a temporary pause in its non-stop service between Auckland and Chicago, effective from March 31st, 2024, until October 25th, 2024.

This decision comes amidst ongoing challenges with the global availability of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

The Trent 1000 is the powerplant for the New Zealand carrier’s flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.

Trent 1000 Maintenance Issues

The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 is a high-bypass turbofan engine specifically designed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It’s one of two engine options available for this aircraft, the other being the General Electric GEnx

The Trent 1000 engines typically require extensive maintenance checks every 1000 engine cycles (takeoffs and landings), involving removal and offsite inspection by the manufacturer.

However, recent inspections by Air New Zealand engineers revealed a need for maintenance after only 750-850 cycles.

Unfortunately, Rolls-Royce has been unable to provide the necessary spare or replacement engines to maintain Air New Zealand’s desired level of service.

This has now lead to a decision to reduce the number of flights operated by the carrier’s Boeing 787 long haul fleet.

Air New Zealand 787-9
Photo Credit: Cammynz via Wikimedia Commons.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Customer and Sales Officer, Leanne Geraghty, acknowledged the difficulty of this decision but emphasized it minimizes customer impact.

“While we understand this pause will disappoint passengers traveling to and from Chicago, particularly during the upcoming April holidays, this was not an easy choice,” Ms. Geraghty stated.

“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this schedule change implemented on short notice.”

“Air New Zealand remains significantly impacted by the limited availability of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines,” she continued. “With up to three aircraft potentially grounded for an extended period, a revised schedule was necessary.”

Chicago Route Services on Pause

To ensure continued service to North America, Air New Zealand has made the strategic decision to temporarily pause the Chicago route while maintaining its existing schedule of up to 35 flights per week to six other US and Canadian destinations.

Passengers booked on the Chicago service will be automatically rebooked on connecting flights through other US airports to reach their final destinations as quickly as possible.

Customers who booked directly with Air New Zealand will receive their updated itineraries within 72 hours. Accordingly, they do not need to contact the airline.

Conclusion

Passengers who booked through a travel agent should contact their agent to confirm itinerary changes.

Air New Zealand will offer customers impacted by this change a choice of solutions. Affected passengers can receive a full refund or hold their booking for future travel with the airline.

“Our top priority remains ensuring the safe travel of our passengers,” Ms. Geraghty concluded. “This requires maintaining our aircraft and engines to the highest standards.

These engine availability challenges do not pose a safety risk for passengers flying on our 787 fleet. We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as our teams work diligently to implement these changes.”


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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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