Inaugural China Eastern Airlines seasonal flight arrives at Auckland Airport

09 December 2014

Auckland Airport has today welcomed the first flight of China Eastern Airlines’ new seasonal Shanghai to Auckland service.

The inaugural seasonal flight was welcomed with a powhiri at Auckland Airport. Norris Carter, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, says the seasonal service will add an extra 47,000 seats on the Shanghai to Auckland route, contributing an estimated $54 million to the New Zealand economy over the peak summer period.

“The new service from China Eastern Airlines will see direct flights operating between Shanghai and Auckland during the peak New Zealand period of December 2014 to March 2015,” says Mr Carter. “The service will initially operate four flights per week and will increase to seven flights per week in January 2015.”

“Shanghai is China’s largest city and we have been experiencing impressive growth from this market recently. In the year ending June 2014, we saw a 20 per cent increase in passenger numbers arriving from Shanghai when compared to the year before. This equates to a remarkable 36,000 visitors arriving from Shanghai over the 12 month period and indicates the strong potential for the future expansion of this market.”

“With the introduction of this new service, we also now have two direct carriers on the Shanghai to Auckland route. We expect this increase in capacity will lead to double digit growth from the Shanghai market during the peak New Zealand summer period.”

“China is New Zealand’s second largest tourism market, with overall Chinese passenger arrivals increasing by 8.2 per cent when comparing the year ending June 2014 to the year ending June 2013,” continues Mr Carter. “Shanghai is a very sophisticated market, with many travellers from the region seeking premium travel experiences.”

“The new China Eastern Airlines service aligns strongly with our ‘Four Seasons, Five Senses’ project, which is jointly funded by Auckland Airport and the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. The project aims to drive tourism growth from China by promoting the unique and iconic activities that our country has to offer. These activities concentrate on engaging the five senses of travellers with a focus on high quality food and wine, cultural and adventure experiences.”

Ms Kathy Zhang, General Manager Oceania for China Eastern Airlines, says the airline is expecting strong demand for its new service due to the popularity of New Zealand as a destination for Chinese travellers.

“During the 2014 Chinese New Year we operated two charter flights on the Shanghai to Auckland route. This proved very successful and it was off the back of this venture that we decided to introduce the new seasonal operation.”

“We are excited to now offer a seasonal service and deliver more capacity and choice for travellers,” finishes Ms Zhang.

China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlines, headquartered in Shanghai, is one of the three major airlines in mainland China. It flies a fleet of more than 500 long-haul and short-haul aircraft with an average age of less than seven years. China Eastern Airlines serves nearly 80 million travellers annually and ranks among the world’s top five airlines in terms of passenger transportation volume.

As an official member of SkyTeam, China Eastern Airlines has extended its flight network from Shanghai to 1,064 cities in 178 countries via close cooperation with SkyTeam member airlines.

With the concept of “World-class hospitality with Eastern charm”, China Eastern Airlines creates splendid travel experiences for global customers with a comfortable and convenient service quality.

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For further information, please contact:

Kate Thompson
+64 21 385 446