Air New Zealand is to resume a non-stop seasonal service between Auckland and Osaka, Japan from November this year. The carrier will operate three return services per week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays using a Boeing 767-300 between November 2016 and March 2017, subject to government and regulatory approvals.
In 2013 Air New Zealand consolidated its services to Japan, suspending the Osaka route and refocusing on growing its Tokyo Narita services. However, since that time, it has significantly grown traffic between New Zealand and Japan, creating new demand for this seasonal Osaka service.
With a flight time around 11 hours, the outbound service will depart Auckland at 10.25am and arrive at Kansai International Airport in Osaka at 6.00pm, the same day. The inbound flight will depart Osaka at 9.00pm and arrive in Auckland at 12.05pm the following day.
Air New Zealand Chief Strategy, Networks and Alliances Officer Stephen Jones says the new seasonal service is a great proposition for Kiwis looking to head north over the summer months and for Japanese travellers looking to head south for Southern summer.
"For Kiwis looking to explore the historical and cultural areas of Western Japan, and nearby Kyoto, this service to Osaka will be very appealing. Osaka will also increase the options for travellers connecting to other destinations within Japan and exploring more of the country,” he said.
"With this new seasonal offering, paired with our ten times weekly service between Auckland and Tokyo on the 787-9 Dreamliner, we’re confident that we can meet the growing demand for travel to and from Japan,” he added.
Japan is New Zealand’s fifth largest tourism market and visitor numbers were up 7.6 percent to 87,328 for the year end December 2015. The number of New Zealanders travelling to Japan grew 17 percent to 29,400 for the year ending December 2015.
Norris Carter, Auckland Airport’s General Manager – Aeronautical Commercial, welcomed the new seasonal service, which will said would provide a great addition to New Zealand's tourism industry next summer. “Auckland Airport estimates the new Air New Zealand seasonal service to Osaka will deliver an additional 14,040 seats between New Zealand and Japan and contribute $24 million to the New Zealand economy, during the season,” he added.