Southern businesses are welcoming Air New Zealand's decision to
fly between Christchurch and two of the South Island's top tourist
attractions over the 2012-2013 summer.
The airline will offer a trial service between Christchurch,
Mount Cook and Queenstown over six weeks at the peak of summer,
operating three times a week, with flights timed to connect with
the direct service between Tokyo and Christchurch.
Christchurch International Airport (CIAL) Chief Executive Jim
Boult is pleased the flights will begin next December.
"The Japanese travel market has been asking for this service for
a long time," he says. "We know many Asian visitors who come here
consider seeing Mount Cook the highlight of their visit.
"Lots of international travellers book a trip here with the
expectation of seeing mountains and lakes, so flying over the
Southern Alps and Canterbury plains between Christchurch and Mount
Cook, then to Queenstown, will certainly make those travellers
CIAL General Manager of Aeronautical Business Development
Matthew Findlay says the flights to Mount Cook are sure to be very
popular with Asian visitors arriving in Christchurch.
"They tell us they want to see the South Island's famous
mountain, so being able to get off one flight in Christchurch and
onto another to see Mount Cook is perfect. Selling this connection
will begin in Asia very soon now everyone have dates to work to.
It's a unique experience only Christchurch Airport, as New
Zealand's Tourism gateway, can offer visitors flying on the new
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism Chief executive Tim Hunter
predicts it won't only be overseas visitors who board the new
"Many New Zealanders regard Mount Cook highly too, so will
welcome the chance to make a day trip or weekend visit to see the
mountain and surrounding scenery. Staying a night or two will also
give people the chance to see that amazing night sky, which has in
the past been nominated for World Heritage status."
John Davies, Chairman of The Hermitage Hotel, is also thrilled
with news of the flights into Mount Cook.
"Mount Cook has more than 300,000 visitors a year, with most of
those over the summer. The Hermitage hosts about 85,000 visitors
and across the summer months, about 90% of them are
"The majority of visitors to Mount Cook are day visitors and
most of them are heading south, so being able to pick up that
flight to Queenstown will be very attractive to them."