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Air NZ sees positives in China Southern Airlines' service

Wednesday 12th January 2011

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Air New Zealand says a new direct service between Guangzhou and Auckland by China Southern Airlines opens a different part of China to New Zealand and does not increase competition on trans-Tasman routes.

China Southern Airlines has decided to fly direct to Auckland from Guangzhou, rather than via Melbourne as planned earlier. The three times a week service is due to start from April 8.

Air New Zealand's deputy chief executive, Norm Thompson, said China Southern Airlines' new initiative was a positive development for the New Zealand tourism industry as it would bring visitors from an important region of China.

The route would complement Air New Zealand's existing direct services between Auckland and Shanghai and Auckland and Beijing.

"We view this as a much more positive initiative than the previously mooted indirect service via Melbourne which would only have added to the congestion in the already over-serviced trans-Tasman market," Thompson said.

Auckland Airport chief executive Simon Moutter said that having one of the largest airlines in the world flying direct to this country would drive more visitors here and give them more time to see what the country had to offer.

China Southern Airlines president Tan Wan'geng said support received from the New Zealand tourism industry gave the airline confidence to move immediately to a direct service.

"Although we always envisaged moving eventually to direct flights if the service via Melbourne proved successful, we have now decided to make this commitment from day one."

Moutter said Auckland Airport was totally committed to growing the number of direct air links with China as quickly as possible to help ensure New Zealand gets its fair share of the fastest growing tourism market in the world.

Auckland Airport shares rose 2c to $2.23 today. Air NZ shares fell 1c to $1.52.



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