A record summer is underway at Christchurch Airport, with a 16
percent increase in passenger numbers driving around $150 million
of new GDP into the regions of the South Island.
Chief Commercial Officer - Aeronautical, Justin Watson, says
hard work by the airport's business development team is paying huge
dividends to the regions of the South Island.
"This is outstanding growth and will top 20% in the month of
February," he says. "It will move the Gateway to the South
Island from around 5.9 million passengers last year to close to 6.4
million passengers this year and the most passengers the
airport has ever handled in a single year.
"Plus, each passenger generates on average one other person who
comes to meet and
greet them, so we could see close to 800,000 extra people through
this year. All that means in January or February we are likely to
see the airport's busiest day ever and a number of other records
This summer will see:
- double-daily 777 services by long-standing airline partner
Singapore Airlines, which has lifted services to Christchurch from
365 to 393 p.a.
- a 400% increase in A330 services from China Airlines
- Qantas adding a new 737 summer service between Christchurch and
Brisbane flying four times a week
- a new year-round 787 China Southern Airlines service direct
from Guangzhou, starting at three times a week
- significantly increased trans-Tasman services from several
airlines including Virgin Australia
- increased domestic services from Air New Zealand and
Jetstar and next year a new Virgin Airlines 737 service to the
"We estimate our new and additional services will bring in an
additional 50,000 international visitors over the next 12 months,"
Mr Watson says. "At an average visitor spend of $3200, so that is
more than $150m in visitor spend - the majority of which stays in
the South Island."
Official statistics show when Christchurch is the gateway,
visitors leave around 86% of their spending in the regions of the
South Island. No other gateway is that productive in terms of
spreading the benefits across the regions.
Mr Watson says Christchurch is the only city in Australia and
New Zealand with population of less than 550,000 not only enjoying
long haul international air connectivity, but also seeing strong
growth and expanding international connections.
He says international travellers through Christchurch have never
had so much choice to get from and to anywhere in the world, thanks
to increased numbers of flights through key international hubs such
as Singapore, Guangzhou, Taipei, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane -
providing connections to key markets such as Japan, China, South
East Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.
"Our integrated terminal will accommodate the extra people and
we should avoid the
congestion expected at other airports. We still expect our normal
easy transit between domestic and international flights, plus we
will have extra staff and volunteer Ambassadors to assist all our
"The retail team has also introduced increased retail and food
and beverage offerings into our award-winning terminal, to reflect
the increasing numbers and varied tastes.
"We are ready to extend the famous southern welcome to the
thousands of extra passengers. Alongside our multi-language
signage, we have more Mandarin-speaking staff at the airport this
summer, reflecting the fact that many more of our arriving
international visitors will arrive from Asia and not speak English
as their first language."