The President of China Southern Airlines announced the airline’s return during a meeting with the NZ Prime Minister’s delegation in Beijing.
President Han says the service paused during the pandemic, but will re-start on November 10 with three flights a week.
Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Justin Watson describes the announcement as a great day for Christchurch Airport and for New Zealand.
“Our connection from Guangzhou to Christchurch was launched in 2015, and over the following four years grew from a summer seasonal service to a daily year-round link between our two countries,” says Mr Watson.
“With a staggering growth rate of more than 250% in only three years, China Southern’s growth at Christchurch expanded from one charter flight back in 2015, to a daily Boeing 777 in 2019.
“Our China market has expanded from around 45,000 in 2015, to almost 120,000 passengers flying direct into Christchurch Airport.”
Justin Watson says Christchurch is the primary gateway to the wonders of the South Island which, when connected to China Southern extensive network, means passengers can connect directly through the airline’s Guangzhou hub to hundreds of destinations.
“The impact of the service re-starting will be far beyond our tourism industry. Not only is the service popular with visitors, but it’s key for education, business and high value airfreight such as our famous live lobster and fresh seafoods.
“People-to-people links and greater prosperity though business and improved trade are the results of airlinks such as this.”
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive René de Monchy says “Tourism New Zealand is focussed on attracting high quality visitors who will positively contribute to New Zealand’s nature, society, culture and economy. Chinese visitors support this, tending to travel across the year and undertaking a range of activities across the regions.”