Business / Companies

Air China's Beijing service set to boost New Zealand economy

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-03 14:15

WELLINGTON - Air China is set to bring a major boost to the New Zealand economy with a new daily air service between the biggest city of Auckland and Beijing, Auckland Airport officials said Thursday.

The new service, starting from Dec 10, is a result of a strategic alliance between Air New Zealand and Air China that was announced on Tuesday.

"Air China will bring an additional 123,000 seats per year and deliver an estimated NZ$149 million ($94.66 million) annually to the New Zealand economy," Auckland Airport general manager aeronautical commercial Norris Carter said in a statement.

Chinese visitors to New Zealand numbered a record 315,248 in the year to the end of July, up 29.5 percent on the previous 12 months, and China was New Zealand's second largest international tourist market, after Australia.

Carter said Beijing's hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics could increase Chinese interest in snow sports, which would likely have a flow-on benefit for New Zealand's ski industry and winter holiday destinations.

"The Air China-Air New Zealand partnership will provide New Zealanders with better access to domestic destinations in China. It will also further improve air connectivity between New Zealand and Europe, which will help to grow our European tourism markets," said Carter.

Air New Zealand and Air China announced the intention to enter the alliance during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to New Zealand in November last year.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said Tuesday that he had authorized the strategic alliance for an initial term of five years and four months.

During this period, the airlines would need to demonstrate the alliance had delivered real benefits to consumers and had not adversely affected competition in the New Zealand-China market.

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