Christchurch Airport and China Southern Airlines (CZ) have today
announced a series of firsts for Christchurch and the South
China Southern Airlines will operate the first commercially
flown B787 Dreamliner to Christchurch, as part of a one-off charter
programme next February, for Chinese New Year.
Airport CEO Jim Boult says the flight is a win-win-win for the
airport, the airline and the South Island.
"This charter flight will be the first Dreamliner to fly to
Christchurch commercially, the first Chinese airline to fly
to New Zealand's second largest city and the first China Southern
charter flight to the South Island," says Mr Boult.
"It is a special charter from the airline's Guangzhou hub and a
significant opportunity for trade and tourism in the South Island.
We are seeing tourism from China continuing to grow, with Chinese
visitor arrivals into Christchurch up 42% in October. The charter
flight will prove the opportunity for scheduled flights and a
direct service that will also appeal to exporters and
"The arrival and departure times are ideally timed for other
connections and to enable travellers to arrive and depart at times
conducive to enjoying their time in the South Island."
General Manager New Zealand for China Southern Airlines, Mike
Ma, says the airline is confident seats on the charter flight will
be keenly sought after.
"We're delighted to bring the February charter to Christchurch,
which we recognise as the gateway to the spectacular South
Island. So many of our travellers want to see and experience
all the South Island has to offer, so this will be a wonderful
charter for travellers lucky enough to be aboard".
Mr Ma says the flight will leave Guangzhou at 3pm on February 2
and arrive in Christchurch at 0730 on February 3, departing at 10am
the same day. The charter flight will carry 228 passengers in a
three-class cabin configuration.
The travellers will be greeted on arrival at Christchurch
Airport with a special Maori welcome and VIP guests will be treated
to a celebratory lunch to mark the occasion.
"We have been in discussions with China Southern for some time
and are confident the success of the charter will encourage airline
managers to confirm regular scheduled services," says Mr Boult.
"Like us, the airline knows how much Chinese travellers want to
visit the South Island. Images of the South Island bring Chinese
travellers to this country and they love flying in over the
Southern Alps and seeing the scenery themselves. We will work with
all stakeholders and tourism operators to ensure the February
charter flight will be the first China Southern Christchurch
arrival of many."
About China Southern
China Southern Airlines is based in Guangzhou and operates the
largest fleet, most developed route network and largest passenger
capacity of any airline in The People's Republic of China. The
airline currently operates more than 500 passenger and cargo
transport aircraft, including Boeing 787，777, 747, 757 & 737
and Airbus A380, 330, 321, 320, 319. The airline fleet is ranked
first in Asia and fifth among the 240 Airlines in IATA (in terms of
fleet size). China Southern Airlines is the first airline in the
world to operate both A380 and 787.
The airline has more than 1,930 daily flights to 193
destinations in 35 countries and regions across the world. Through
cooperation with SkyTeam member airlines, the airline's global
route network spans 1024 destinations to 187 countries and
Last year, China Southern transported more than 86 million
passengers, ranking the carrier first in Asia and the fifth among
the 240 Airlines in IATA , topping all Chinese airlines for 34