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Air New Zealand to Increase China Flights

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Air New Zealand is, subject to normal government and landing slot approvals, to add two additional direct services each week between New Zealand and China in response to 20% growth in international visitor numbers from China.

The airline is looking to add an additional Auckland - Beijing return service from 6 December 2011 and an additional Auckland - Shanghai return service over the peak summer season from 11 December through to 18 March 2012.

Air New Zealand currently operates two return Beijing services a week (Wednesday and Saturday) and three return Shanghai services a week (Monday, Thursday and Friday).

The new Sunday Shanghai service and Tuesday Beijing service mean the airline will be offering daily direct services, offering more than 4,250 seats per week between New Zealand and China.

Air New Zealand Deputy CEO Norm Thompson said, "The China market has enormous potential for us as an airline and for the New Zealand tourism industry as a whole. New figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show China is the fastest growing market in the world for international passenger traffic and it's important that we're well positioned to respond. Offering a daily direct service is an important step."

China is New Zealand's fourth largest tourism market and one of the fastest growing. Tourism from China is forecast to continue growing by an average of 8.4% per annum between now and 2016. 122,000 Chinese visited New Zealand in 2010, up 20% on the previous year. Collectively Chinese visitors to New Zealand spent $382 million in the year to September 2010.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the additional services will help deliver record numbers of visitors from China to New Zealand. "Attracting visitors from China is vital to New Zealand's tourism growth over the coming years. Expectations are that the number of international departures from China will double over the next five years. Tourism New Zealand is committed to developing further opportunities in China and the wider Asian region. I'm confident that there is significant potential for us to attract longer staying and more valuable visitors from China," he said.

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