China Southern Airlines to use Boeing 787-9 on Christchurch-Guangzhou route

China Southern Airlines upgrading to Boeing 787-9 for Christchurch-Guangzhou service.
China Southern Airlines aircraft Photo credit: Reuters file

China Southern Airlines' direct service between Guangzhou and Christchurch will upgrade to the company's new, flagship aircraft from October.

The Boeing 787-9 is described by the airline as its newest, state-of-the-art wide-body aircraft.

The planes have 30 percent more seats than the aircraft currently flying the direct route, as well as a new business class cabin.

Christchurch Airport Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer, Justin Watson, says the change is likely to add an extra $66 million in visitor spend.

"This airport is still the fastest growing entry point for Chinese visitors coming to New Zealand and growing at twice the national average, plus statistics show visitors arriving here internationally stay longer, see more and spend more," says Mr Watson.

 "This is a vote of confidence in the service and a big win for international visitors, as well as South Islanders who book it to travel quickly and easily to China and on to Europe."

He went on to say that the 787-9 will be able to carry about three extra tonnes of air freight, which is good news for exporters.

"That can roughly be the equivalent of $29,000 of export value to the South Island on every flight," says Mr Watson.

"That's a real bonus for the many southern producers already using this direct air service to get produce including fresh seafood, meat, dairy products, flowers and fruit to the lucrative Asian markets quickly and in best condition."

The new aircraft will fly directly between Christchurch and Guangzhou every day from late October.