Chinese airline expanding its Chch service

Photo: Christchurch Airport
Photo: Christchurch Airport
China Southern Airlines will increase its number of flights into Christchurch next summer.

The carrier today announced its plan to operate five flights between Christchurch Airport and its hub at Guangzhou for five months from the end of October, a 52 per cent rise in capacity compared to last summer.

China Southern initially started with three services a week to Christchurch direct from Guangzhou in 2015. It then increased to daily flights to meet the rising demand but was forced to suspend its Christchurch service in February 2020 after the Covid pandemic hit.

It re-started the route in May this year with three flights a week using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Christchurch Airport general manager of aeronautical development, Gordon Beavan, said the airport has committed to working more closely with the airline.

“We know China’s high value passengers - and those who come from further afield on this direct service - want to experience all the South Island of New Zealand has to offer.

“We recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding on our aligned goals, which include further building the attraction of the South Island in the shoulder seasons. One of the aims of this work is to meet increasing interest from China’s travellers to ski here and we hope China Southern will be flying here year-round before much longer,” he said.

Front: MOU signatories Jason SUN, China Southern Airlines' regional GM Australia and New Zealand;...
Front: MOU signatories Jason SUN, China Southern Airlines' regional GM Australia and New Zealand; Gordon Bevan, Christchurch Airport's GM aeronautical development. Back from left: Xiao Yong, China Southern Airlines' deputy director general, commercial steering committee; Qu Guangji, China Southern Air Holding Co Ltd executive vice president; city councillor Mark Peters, and council civic and international relations manager Duncan Sandeman.
As well as tourism, the MOU also focuses on growing the education, food safety and high value cargo services between the airline and airport.

China Southern Airlines has the largest fleet in China, with more than 600 aircraft. 

Tourism New Zealand figures show Chinese visitors ranked as New Zealand’s second-largest international tourism market with 407,000 visitors in 2019.

On average, each visitor spent $476 a day and about half stayed for more than a week.