Christchurch lands big increase in flights from China
China Southern Airlines will provide daily flights to Christchurch over the summer, welcome news for a tourism industry still coming to grips with disruption from the Kaikoura earthquakes.
The airline will up its service from three to five times a week from December 12, rising to daily flights between mid January and mid February.
Christchurch Airport chief aeronautical and commercial officer Justin Watson said strong demand from Chinese visitors led to the increased flights.
The China Southern service was also proving very popular for South Islanders flying direct to Guangzhou, and on to destinations across Europe, he said.
It also boosted airfreight capacity out of the South Island.
General manager of Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa Graeme Abbot said the extra flights were great news after a tough couple of weeks because international visitors helped bolster the domestic market.
Tourism West Coast chief executive Jim Little said tourism was booming on the West Coast thanks to China Southern Airlines with very significant increases in guest nights and spending.
"This is substantiated by latest [West Coast] regional tourism statistics, as well as feedback from operators, particularly jade shops."