New Zealand gets new Chinese connections

Tianjin Airlines' A330 will land in Auckland this December
Tianjin Airlines’ A330 will land in Auckland this December

New Zealand will soon be connected to two new Chinese cities, following the launch of Tianjin Airlines’ first ever flights to Oceania.

Commencing in December 2016, the fast-expanding Chinese airline will make its Southern Hemisphere debut with the launch of flights from Chongqing and Tianjin to Auckland. Flights will operate three times a week using a 260-seat, two-class Airbus A330 aircraft.

Auckland Airport estimates that the new service will provide a NZ$102 million (US$74.6m) boost to the New Zealand tourism industry.

“This is great news for Auckland Airport as well as for our city and the country,” said Norris Carter, Auckland Airport’s general manager for aeronautical commercial. “China is a rapidly developing source market for New Zealand tourism and this new route flying directly to Auckland provides another option for Chinese visitors to experience New Zealand.”

Air links between New Zealand and China have expanded in recent years; Air China commenced direct flights to Auckland from Beijing late last year, and in November 2016, Hong Kong Airlines is planning to launch its first flights to New Zealand’s largest city. China Eastern and China Southern Airlines also fly to Auckland from their respective home bases of Shanghai and Guangzhou.

But Tianjin Airlines’ new flights will mark the first ever links between Auckland and Tianjin and Chongqing – two huge cities with a combined population of approximately 30 million people. By contrast, New Zealand’s population is less than five million.

The routing will operate direct from Auckland to the port city of Tianjin, before continuing onwards to Chongqing – a western metropolis set on the banks of the Yangtze River.

Part of the HNA Group, which also operates Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines launched its first ever long-haul flights earlier this summer, including a new Tianjin-Chongqing-London flight.

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