China Airlines has announced its plans to grow South Island capacity by approximately 53 percent next summer, following a successful first season.
Taiwan’s largest carrier plans to add 14,122 more seats on the Sydney – Christchurch sector by operating for the full 22 weeks from October to March. The airline has said that the service was their most successful service ever upon launch, and has given them confidence to grow it further.
The service, which was the airline’s most successful sector on its global network at the time, will operate three times a week from Taipei to Christchurch, via Sydney and return the same way.
“We expect to see increases in what we experienced last summer - East Asian travellers using the service to get to the South Island, as well as the Sydney connection being used by many travellers, including New Zealanders and Australians,” said China Airlines New Zealand Branch Manager, Shirley Yang.
Christchurch Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer – Aeronautical, Justin Watson says the increase service is great news for the South Island.
"The ever-increasing number of Asian travellers wanting to experience the South Island is very positive for the regional economies of the South Island. It is estimated that the value of the Taiwanese visitors carried over summer by China Airlines was in excess of $15m,” he said.
Statistics show that about 75 percent of international visitors arriving into Christchurch visit other regions in the South Island – one of the highest dispersals in the country.
Christchurch Airport has also seen passenger numbers grow well above the national averages over the recent summer months, with more than 70 percent of the passengers on the China Airlines service originating from North Asian markets or further afield.
As a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, China Airlines can offer an increased number of international connections, with a total of 20 member airlines offering more than 16,000 daily flights to more than 1050 destinations in 177 countries within the alliance.
The service also brings another widebody aircraft into Christchurch which enables exporters to get high value/time sensitive air freight into the fast growing Asian market quickly. During the airline’s previous operations to Christchurch last summer, air freight volumes spiked 21 percent.
"The confirmation of the additional services will be a great boost to the regional economies of the South Island bringing in more visitors and providing improved freight services for South Island exporters," added Justin Watson.