Hainan Airlines launches flight to NZ

  • 03/10/2016
Some 311,424 Chinese tourists visited New Zealand in the year to the end of August (Getty)
Some 311,424 Chinese tourists visited New Zealand in the year to the end of August (Getty)

Hainan Airlines has become the latest international airline to announce a new route to New Zealand, with a service to Auckland from the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

It will operate three times a week using an A330 aircraft from December 31, which Auckland International Airport estimates will boost the economy by $102 million and would increase capacity by 81,000 seats from China.

Some 311,424 Chinese tourists visited New Zealand in the year to the end of August, an increase of 29 percent on the year-earlier period, Statistics New Zealand figures show.

The collapse in the price of oil since June 2014 has led to a resurgence in the number of carriers flying to New Zealand, catering for record visitor numbers.

On Friday, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon reiterated his warning to shareholders that increased competition would lead to a fall in revenue in the current financial year.

Auckland Airport's general manager of aeronautical commercial, Norris Carter, said the new route would add to the options for the new wave of Chinese visitors: "It will also give Chinese travellers further connecting flight options to Auckland from other areas in China through the extensive Hainan Airlines' network."

Shares in Auckland Airport fell 0.1 percent, or 1 cent, to $7.34. They've risen 28 percent since the start of the year.

Air New Zealand shares dropped 1.3 percent to $1.83. They've fallen 30 percent since the start of the year.

NZN