• Christchurch International Airport is set to welcome three additional long-haul destinations, including Guangzhou, San Francisco, and Hong Kong.
  • China Southern will relaunch its direct 787 Dreamliner services from Guangzhou, re-establishing a link between the South Island and mainland China.
  • Singapore Airlines will add three extra flights per week, totaling ten weekly flights between Christchurch and Singapore, providing increased capacity for passengers and cargo.

It's up and away for travelers to and from Christchurch International Airport, the largest airport on New Zealand's South Island, as the airport is set to welcome three extra long-haul destinations for the Southern Hemisphere summer. Currently home to a daily A350 flight to Singapore, and a one-stop Airbus A380 Emirates service to Dubai, things will heat up in the international terminal by Christmas.

While the next long long-haul visitor won't precisely be new, China Southern will relaunch its direct 787 Dreamliner services from Guangzhou come November 10th, re-establishing a direct link between the South Island and mainland China. CZ had previously operated the route before the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHCH longhaul
Source: GCMap

New Zealand Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, reiterated the importance of direct flights to China, stating:

"China remains an important tourist market to New Zealand, with borders open, tourists returning to our shores, and today's announcement will make visiting from China even easier and help drive our economic recovery."

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​​​​United Airlines and Cathay Pacific en route

Star-Alliance member United Airlines looks to strengthen its relationship with local carrier Air New Zealand, with its direct link to San Francisco set to launch a seasonal service from December 1st. Operating three times a week over four months, American travelers are expected to bring in NZ $44 million ($26 million) in visitor spending, with three-quarters destined for the South Island.

While the United service is expected to be popular among travelers at both ends of the spectrum, it is also likely to play a crucial part in the United States Antarctic Programme, based on Christchurch Airport's grounds. More than 3,000 staff head south from the US for research in Christchurch and onto Antarctica every southern summer.

United Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner N26910
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The southern airport is also excitedly awaiting the return of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, which plans to deploy its Airbus A350 south to Christchurch from December 15th. The carrier had served Christchurch before the pandemic when many airlines paused their international operation.

The link between Christchurch and Hong Kong will undoubtedly see a lot of point-to-point demand. However, it will also appeal to those looking to make a one-stop hop between the South Island and Europe or other points in Asia. The route is expected to run until the end of February 2024.

An extra three flights a week from Singapore Airlines

While the Singaporean carrier has long maintained a daily service between the two cities, Christchurch is set to see an additional three services a week, taking the connection to ten weekly from November 19th. Singapore Airlines began serving the route in 1986 and has remained loyal even through the depths of the pandemic. The increased capacity on the route will add 40 flights across the summer, resulting in an additional 759 seats a week.

Singapore Airlines A350-900
Photo: WeChitra/Shutterstock

In addition to the added capacity for passengers, the increased cargo capacity will be an additional 50 tonnes a week, aiding local exporters to get New Zealand's world-class produce, wine, meat, and dairy into the sky and to their customers quicker.