WELLINGTON, Aug. 12 -- Taiwan-based China Airlines is to begin flying into New Zealand's South Island, offering major new opportunities for trade and travel, Christchurch Airport chiefs announced Tuesday.
China Airlines would operate three return flights a week between Christchurch and Taiwan via Sydney for an initial summer season from Dec. 2 this year to March 1 next year, airport chief executive Malcolm Johns said in a statement.
"The South Island was a very popular destination for the Taiwanese in the 1990s. The new summer service will connect with the valuable Taiwan market, whose travellers are keen to experience the many attractions of the South Island," said Johns.
The service would offer an extra 24,000 seats between Christchurch-Sydney-Taipei, which would also open up other travel routes from the South Island via Sydney.
The carrier would be the first member of the Sky Team Alliance, which includes China Southern Airlines and China Eastern, to connect with the South Island.
"This service also brings another wide body aircraft into Christchurch, so is great news for the air freight industry. Importantly, China Airlines also provides a great network for exporters to get high value air freight into the fast growing Asian markets quickly," said Johns.
CEO of Canterbury Development Corporation, Tom Hooper, said getting New Zealand's second city more connected globally was a principal driver of economic growth and would help the economy in a number of areas.
"The service will also offer more freight capacity to Sydney and on to Asia, so another opportunity for fresh and time sensitive goods," Hooper said in the statement.