Taiwanese carrier China Airlines is to introduce a seasonal link to Christchurch during the northern winter schedule, its second destination in New Zealand after Auckland. The airline will operate a three times weekly flight between Taipei and Christchurch between December 01, 2014 and February 28, 2015. The service, operated by an Airbus A330-300, will operate via Sydney, increasing the carrier’s flight to the Australian city from four times weekly to a daily offering.
China Airlines will be the first member of the SkyTeam alliance to offer flights to New Zealand’s South Island and will enable various connection opportunities in Sydney to the services of other partners of the grouping. These include Delta Air Lines, Korean Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern and Garuda Indonesia which all offer daily flights from the Australian city.
"The new summer service will connect with the valuable Taiwan market, whose travellers are keen to experience the many attractions of the South Island,” said Malcolm Johns, chief executive officer, Christchurch International Airport. "The service will offer an extra 24,000 seats between Christchurch-Sydney-Taipei over December/January/February, which underlines the on-going importance of Sydney as an international airport hub for the South Island."
The South Island was a very popular destination for the Taiwanese in the 1990s and this new seasonal link will reduce transit times between Taipei and Christchurch by around four hours and remove at least one stop from the process, reducing the journey between the two cities to just over 14 hours.
"We know there is demand from Taiwan for travellers to visit the South Island. We have seen eight per cent growth in holiday arrivals from Taiwan to New Zealand in the past year and we are confident this new connection to the South Island will stimulate new holiday demand. The service will also appeal to travellers from other North Asian countries," said Tim Hunter, chief executive officer, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism.
The service will also boost the air freight industry with additional widebodied aircraft capacity in and out of Australia and Taiwan. A recent report commissioned by CDC and produced by PWC noted that the South Island is missing out on exporting about 17,000 tonnes of high value air freight exports annually because of the lack of widebody aircraft capacity servicing Christchurch.
Alongside the Christchurch link, China Airlines will also this winter offer a daily link between Taipei and Auckland with a mix of Boeing 747-400 flights via Brisbane and A330-300 services via Sydney.
Schedule data from Airline Route
CHINA AIRLINES: Taipei – Sydney – Christchurch
CI055 TPE2300 – 1120+1SYD1240+1 – 1745+1CHC 333 146
CI056 CHC1915 – 2030SYD2210 – 0430+1TPE 333 257