Air New Zealand (NZ, Auckland International) is suspending its Auckland-Chicago O'Hare service, citing the lack of serviceable Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. In a March 12 stock market filing, the airline said it would pause the flights between March 31 and October 27, 2024, the start of the IATA 2024/25 winter season.

Air New Zealand operates the thrice-weekly roundtrips with a B787-9 and is the only carrier on the city pair. In a separate statement on the same date, it explained that there are "ongoing challenges" in securing serviceable Trent 1000 engines.

"Rolls-Royce has been unable to provide Air New Zealand with spare or replacement engines to deliver the level of service needed, leading to a reduction in the amount of flying Air New Zealand can deliver via its 787 fleet," it said.

The airline has fourteen B787-9s, with the ch-aviation fleets module showing two, ZK-NZG (msn 37963) and ZK-NZK (msn 43217), are currently inactive. Air New Zealand's statement said it expects up to three B787s to be out of service at any one time because of the unavailability of replacement engines.

"Like other manufacturers across the aerospace industry, we are experiencing a certain amount of supply chain disruption, which is impacting some customers such as Air New Zealand. We continue to do everything we can to minimise this impact," a Rolls Royce spokesperson told ch-aviation. "The Trent 1000 is a very reliable engine with 99.9% dispatch reliability since entry into service. We are rolling out improvements to its durability and will more than double the engine's time on wing through a durability enhancement package that is in the final stages of certification.”

Air New Zealand sends its Trent 1000 engines offshore for heavy maintenance after 750-850 take-off and landing cycles. The statement said that deciding which service to suspend came down to passenger numbers. While the Chicago flights are popular, suspending this route will impact the least number of passengers. Air New Zealand will continue to provide around 35 roundtrips per week between Auckland and Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles International, New York JFK, San Francisco, and Vancouver International.