Another first for the Christchurch-Guangzhou China Southern Airlines service

The very successful China Southern Airlines direct service between Guangzhou and Christchurch is about to record another first.

The airline has just announced it will fly its new flagship aircraft to Christchurch from October.

The 787-9 is the airline's newest state-of-the-art widebody aircraft and has 30% more seats than the aircraft currently flying the direct route, plus it will have a new business class cabin.

Christchurch Airport Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer, Justin Watson, says the aircraft upgrade is likely to add an extra $66million in visitor spend.

"This airport is still the fastest growing entry point for Chinese visitors coming to New Zealand and growing at twice the national average, plus statistics show visitors arriving here internationally stay longer, see more and spend more," he says.

"This is a vote of confidence in the service and a big win for international visitors, as well as South Islanders who book it to travel quickly and easily to China and on to Europe.

"It also has a big upside for local exporters. The 787-9 will be able to carry about three extra tonnes of air freight.  That extra three tonnes can roughly be the equivalent of $29,000 of export value to the South Island on every flight.  That's a real bonus for the many southern producers already using this direct air service to get produce including fresh seafood, meat, dairy products, flowers and fruit to the lucrative Asian markets quickly and in best condition."

The new aircraft will fly directly between Christchurch and Guangzhou every day from late October to March 31 next year.

Facts about the China Southern Airlines787-9:

China Southern Airlines took delivery of the first 787-9 this May

  • Christchurch will be among the first international services the airline will fly the new aircraft on
  • The 787-9 offers 30% greater passenger and freight capacity than the smaller 787-8 model it replaces
  • The aircraft features 28 fully flat Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, and 269 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration
  • The aircraft will offer full Wi-Fi connectivity and personal inflight entertainment