China Southern Airlines has announced it is to operate twice-daily flights between Auckland and Guangzhou from August 1, 2015.
The airline, which currently operates a seasonal service, will move to year-round double-daily services between Auckland and Guangzhou using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
It will lift the year-round flights from 10 to 14 in order to meet the high demand from Chinese tourists.
"We have great confidence in the Auckland-Guangzhou route due to the high level of tourism demand between China and New Zealand," China Southern Airlines' New Zealand general manager Mike Ma said.
The airline initially started flying the route in April 2011, with three services per week, though the high level in tourism demand has required an increase in frequency.
“China is rapidly becoming one of New Zealand’s top visitor markets and China Southern Airlines has recognised this. China Southern started flying the Guangzhou-Auckland route in April 2011 with three services per week. Within three years they have increased flights to twice daily. It’s truly impressive to see a route grow so fast,” said Charles Spillane, Auckland Airport’s acting general manager aeronautical commercial.
Norris Carter, Auckland Airport's general manager of commercial flights, said the latest increase in services would add 95,000 seats on the Auckland to Guangzhou route and contribute $97 million to the New Zealand economy,
"China is one of New Zealand's top visitor markets and China Southern Airlines has recognised the opportunity that this represents.
China Eastern previously flew a summer service to Auckland, and Air China is currently in talks to form a joint venture with Air New Zealand which is likely to initiate direct links to Beijing.
China Southern is the third biggest airline in the world, and has expanded from 10 million passengers in 1994, to 101 million in 2014. The airline is attempting to broaden its appeal worldwide by offering an increase in English speaking crew, as well as new food and wine menus onboard.
The expanded service to New Zealand comes after a recent partnership between Auckland Airport and China Southern to contract celebrity chef, Al Brown to redesign the inflight menu for the route.