Passengers get ready to board China Southern Airlines' first flight from Beijing Daxing International Airport to London's Heathrow Airport on June 7, 2023. (PHOTO by TAO RAN/FOR CHINA DAILY)
China Southern Airlines said it plans to resume its flight that connects Guangzhou, Guangdong province and Christchurch, New Zealand in November to meet the growing travel demand between the two countries after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, in November, Guangzhou-based China Southern plans to add three more weekly flights that connect Guangzhou and Auckland in New Zealand.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the worst time has passed. Since the country reopened the border, it has welcomed more than 1 million tourists, and some 77,000 tourists came from China. Hipkins made the remarks during an event in Beijing while he is paying an official visit to China this week.
China stands as New Zealand's largest trading partner for goods, export market and import source country, as well as the second-largest overseas market for tourism consumption, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
"The China-New Zealand air travel market enjoys broad prospects for growth. As the largest air operator of the China-New Zealand market, we have attached great importance to the New Zealand market and continued to develop our Guangzhou route with Australia and New Zealand transfers as a main focus," said Han Wensheng, general manager of China Southern Airlines.
In 2011, State-owned China Southern launched the Guangzhou-Auckland service, the first route from the Chinese mainland to New Zealand. In 2015, the carrier opened the Guangzhou-Christchurch route, the first flight service from the Chinese mainland to the South Island of New Zealand.
Before the pandemic, China Southern operated triple daily flights between Guangzhou and New Zealand, accounting for more than a 40 percent share of the China-New Zealand air travel market.