China Airlines back with more

The leading airline in Taiwan, China Airlines, says its first season of flying to Christchurch was so successful, it will expand the service for the entire upcoming summer.

The airline says the increased services - and thousands more seats - are a direct result of a successful three-month service operated last December, January and February.

China Airlines New Zealand Branch General Manager, Shirley Yang, says "Our inaugural service last summer was a huge success for us. The Taipei-Sydney-Christchurch service was our most successful sector on our global network at that time, so it was an easy decision to expand the service next summer.

"The service will operate three times a week from Taipei to Christchurch, via Sydney, and return the same way. We expect to see even more East Asian travellers using the service to get to the South Island, as well as the Sydney connection being used by many travellers, including New Zealanders and Australians."

Christchurch Airport's Chief Commercial Officer - Aeronautical, Justin Watson, says the increased service is great news for the regional economies of the South Island.

"It is estimated that the value of the Taiwanese visitors carried last summer by China Airlines was in excess of $15m," he says. "Official statistics show about 75% of international visitors arriving into Christchurch visit other regions in the South Island.

"Christchurch Airport has seen passenger numbers over the recent summer months grow well above the national averages. Statistics show more than 70% of the passengers on the China Airlines service are from North Asian markets, or further afield, highlighting the significant interest in the South Island from long haul markets.

"It's good news for South Island travellers too. China Airlines is a member of the Sky Team Alliance, which means 20 member airlines offering more than 16,000 daily flights to more than 1050 destinations in 177 countries. Through China Airlines, South Islanders have connections to most places in the world."