Air New Zealand has announced it will soon be flying direct to Buenos Aires.

The airline has been actively investigating a South American option for about six months but it is understood recent falls in jet fuel prices have made launching the route a more attractive prospect.

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An Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200 aircraft will operate three return services a week on the route all year round.


Flights are set to begin from December 2015.

Tourism New Zealand has highlighted Latin America as a target for development and New Zealand business has links to the region though agricultural investments.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said today the new destination, the airline's 28th international port, opens up "an exciting new world for travellers from both New Zealand and Australia."

"South America was once the domain of the intrepid explorer, but the direct service to Buenos Aires, with a flight time of around 12 hours, means a quick and action packed getaway is now a reality.

"Buenos Aires is the most popular tourist city in South America and is a perfect stepping stone for those who then want to explore the country, or continent, further."

"We've been very clear about our aspirations for growth in the Pacific Rim. Our flights to Singapore commence next month and this new route to Buenos Aires further strengthens our network in the Pacific Rim. Argentina is an exciting new destination for New Zealanders, and with seamless one-stop connectivity through Auckland it will provide a fantastic opportunity for Australians as well."

The service will also enable Argentineans to travel directly to New Zealand and then on to Australia on Air New Zealand's extensive trans-Tasman network, or to Singapore and South East Asia.

Air New Zealand will enter into a code share agreement with Aerolíneas Argentinas, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals, which will see Aerolíneas Argentinas' code return to the South Pacific market on the new route and on key connecting Trans-Tasman services, and Air New Zealand will code share on Aerolíneas Argentinas' services to Brazil.

"We are particularly excited that Aerolíneas Argentinas has agreed to support the service with code share, which we expect to help further stimulate tourism to New Zealand from this rugby loving nation," said Luxon.


Meanwhile, there are expectations that Air New Zealand will also announce a new route to the US in the near future.

Chicago, Houston and Las Vegas are understood to be on the shortlist. An announcement could be made by early next year and flights could start within the next 12 months.