Air New Zealand is on the brink of announcing another United States destination.
The airline late last year said it was investigating three new options in the US and an announcement on which it had chosen could be made as early as this week. Chicago, Houston and Las Vegas are in the running.
Air New Zealand would not comment on which city has been chosen or give details of the timing of the announcement, but Chicago and Houston would offer better connectivity, while Las Vegas is seen more of a one-stop leisure destination which don't offer the same yields as flights with more premium travellers.
While Chicago would challenge the range of full planes, particular flying into prevailing winds on the way back to this country, it is the hub of Air New Zealand's US Star Alliance partner, United Airlines.
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The city would offer good connections to popular destinations on the east coast such as New York and Washington and in to Canada. No other airline from this region operates direct flights to Chicago either.
Houston is also a big hub for flying to the US eastern seaboard and also offers good connectivity to the Caribbean where the fly-cruise market is growing rapidly. There are also good connections to Latin America.
Air New Zealand serves Los Angeles and San Francisco on the US mainland with a growing number of flight although has run charters to Las Vegas and Chicago. It has had a monopoly on direct flights to the US from New Zealand since Qantas pulled off the Auckland-Los Angeles route in 2012.
House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas said it was not clear which city the airline would choose but Las Vegas seemed the least likely.
He said the appetite to travel to the US continued to be strong among Kiwi travellers.