A significant vote of confidence in the South Island has come
today with news China Southern Airlines will increase its direct
services to Christchurch over the important summer season.
The airline currently flies three times a week between Guangzhou
and Christchurch, but today announced it will increase its service
to five times a week from December 12, and daily between January 15
and February 17.
Christchurch Airport Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer
Justin Watson says the increases in services will provide a huge
economic boost for the regions of the South Island and are a direct
result of the regions collectively working together.
"The regions of the South Island have been flying in formation
in the China market for the past two years, working together to
achieve the commencement of the direct service last December" he
says. "These extra flights are a response to the awesome
effort by the regional tourism organisations and businesses of the
South Island, which are punching
above their weight in their efforts to be great hosts to
increasing numbers of Chinese visitors. The increased flights are a
result of strong demand from Chinese visitors who can't get enough
of South Island scenery and hospitality.
"The extra flights represent an increase of more than 50% over
the important summer season and have been announced a few days
ahead of the first anniversary of the airline's direct service
between Mainland China and Christchurch."
Tracy Johnston, General Manager of Destination Marlborough, says
this is brilliant news for Marlborough and the Sound Island. "Since
our first visit to China in June, as part of a China Southern
and Christchurch Airport led promotional tour, we have
definitely seen more interest from Chinese travel sellers planning
to include Marlborough in their travel itineraries. For the
airline to back this up with increased capacity into Christchurch
over the summer months demonstrates the demand is there. Our
region is poised and ready for more Chinese travellers this
In the Hurunui District, Graeme Abbot, General Manager of Hanmer
Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, says he's delighted to hear of the
increased services from China. "After a tough couple of
weeks, this could not be better timing for Hanmer Springs as a
destination. I'm delighted to say this destination has never
looked better and we look forward to welcoming
China Southern customers to our village, as part of
their South Island experience. Like the rest of the South
Island, we have experienced growth from our Asian markets,
primarily due to the increase in arrivals at Christchurch
Chief Executive at Tourism West Coast, Jim Little, says tourism
is booming on the West Coast thanks to China Southern Airlines.
"The increased capacity from China has had the effect of very
significant increases in guest nights and spending on the West
Coast. This is substantiated by latest regional tourism statistics,
as well as feedback from operators, particularly jade shops."
Justin Watson says it's not just Chinese visitors who are taking
advantage of the China Southern service.
"The airline's Dreamliner service is proving very popular for
South Islanders who are flying direct to Guangzhou, and onto many
destinations across Europe. China Southern Airlines is the world's
third largest airline and flies to 190 destinations worldwide, so
us to the world's favourite attractions.
"South Islanders have never been as connected through this
airport than they are this summer and we are seeing more and more
of them using China Southern Airlines to get to places they want to
"In addition, the extra services will provide a boost to the
available airfreight capacity out of the South Island. This comes
at a key time when South Island exporters are wanting to get their
high value food products such as live crayfish to key markets".