Cathay Pacific to launch its first direct flight between Hong Kong and Christchurch, New Zealand

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 9:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 11:19pm

Hong Kong’s flagship airline Cathay Pacific will launch one of its longest non-stop services in December, a thrice-weekly service to Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand.

The service, commencing during the southern hemisphere’s summer, will use Airbus A350 aircraft.

The flight time between Hong Kong and Christchurch is expected to be between 11 to 12 hours, Cathay Pacific said, while the longest non-stop flight in its network remains the route from Hong Kong to New York.

The Christchurch service will operate three times per week, departing Hong Kong on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Subject to Hong Kong regulatory approvals, the new service will operate between December 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018 and will complement Cathay Pacific’s current seasonal twice-daily flights to Auckland as well as strategic partner Air New Zealand’s daily service between Hong Kong and Auckland.

Paul Loo, Cathay Pacific’s director of corporate development and IT, said the new service will meet customer demand for travel to New Zealand during the southern hemisphere’s peak summer months as well as provide a convenient option for South Island-based travellers looking to fly on Cathay Pacific to Asia and beyond via the Hong Kong hub.

The airline said it will also extend its strategic partnership with Air New Zealand on services between Hong Kong and New Zealand for a further five years until 2022, subject to continuing regulatory approvals.

Stephen Jones, Air New Zealand’s chief strategy, networks and alliances officer, welcomed the extension of the alliance. “Through our agreement with Cathay Pacific we have been able to stimulate travel between New Zealand and Hong Kong and importantly grow inbound tourism from this market with visitor numbers up 130 per cent since the alliance was first signed,” said Jones. “By extending our alliance we hope to further grow these services and continue to deliver a range of benefits to the travelling public.”

Cathay Pacific has been expanding its long-haul network. In March, the airline will begin a four-times-a-week service to Tel Aviv, Israel, while July will see the introduction of a four-times-weekly seasonal operation to Barcelona, Spain. These new services follow the addition of both Madrid, Spain and Gatwick, UK as new destinations in 2016.