Carrier's service on the rise

MASSIVE increases in the number of tourists heading to New Zealand has been the spur behind Air New Zealand's expansion in Asia.

In the past three years, Air New Zealand, the national carrier, has introduced direct flights from Auckland to Taipei, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Bali and Nagoya in Japan.

It now runs 28 flights out of Asia each week, according to Mr Albert Chan, sales manager at the airline's Hongkong office.

''We have been flying to Hongkong for nearly 30 years but until three years ago we only flew to Tokyo and Singapore, in addition to Hongkong,'' he said.

''They come for the beautiful scenery and the sight-seeing,'' he said.

This year, Air New Zealand will open a direct flight to Seoul.

Services from Taipei have increased to six a week from November last year.

Inbound traffic from Japan and Taiwan reached record levels, with 72 per cent increase from North Asia, 21 per cent from Japan and 14 per cent from Southeast Asia.

The airline also secured landing rights for the new Kansai airport under construction in Japan.