New Dreamliners allow nonstop travel deep within America, possibly to Chicago.
Air New Zealand is poised to fly deeper into the United States, possibly Chicago, which travel experts say should result in good deals for travellers.
While the airline is not commenting, it is understood Chicago, Houston and Las Vegas are on the shortlist. An announcement could be made by early next year and flights start within the next 12 months.
The airline would use its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on a nonstop route. By mid-next year it will have four of the 10 fuel-efficient long-range planes it has on order.
Travel agents say new routes usually start with promotional fares. They have been aware of the airline scoping out new destinations in the US, where record numbers of Kiwis are travelling, boosted by the relatively high New Zealand dollar.
Simon Mckearney, general manager of product at Flight Centre, said if the airline opted for Chicago or Houston, fares would be between those for Los Angeles and New York after opening specials.
"It's good news for travellers and good news for the industry and good news for Air New Zealand," he said.
Latest figures show 170,000 travelled to the US in the year to August, 23 per cent up on the same period the year before. The number of arrivals from the US has also risen sharply, up 12 per cent to 216,000 for the past year.
Stella Travel general manager of marketing David Libeau said it made sense for Air NZ to fly to Chicago as it was the hub for its alliance partner, United. Las Vegas would appeal to a leisure and conference market and Houston would offer links to other parts of the US and Latin America.
Chicago is almost 13,200km from Auckland but within Dreamliner's 15,372km range. It is well short of the longest commercial flight - the Qantas Airbus A380 service between Sydney and Dallas Fort Worth which is 15,350km.
New US route planned
•Air NZ is looking at adding to its routes to the US.
•Chicago, Houston and Las Vegas are on the shortlist.
•Chicago is almost 13,200km from Auckland.
•It is within the Dreamliner's 15,372km range.