Monday 21st February 2011 1 Comment
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Air New Zealand is to boost its Tokyo-New Zealand route with the return of Boeing 747s, after a gap of five years, following signs the Japanese visitor market is improving.
Air NZ says it will increase capacity by 25% from December with the 379-seat Boeing 747-400.
Until now, it used the smaller 304-seat Boeing 777-200 aircraft between New Zealand and Tokyo.
Deputy chief executive Norm Thompson said switching the Tokyo route to a 747 would provide more than 1000 additional return seats per week during peak season.
The move demonstrated Air NZ's confidence in the growth potential of the Japan tourism market, he said.
The success of special charter flights this summer suggested the Japanese market was experiencing a strong recovery.
Japanese are the highest spending visitors to New Zealand, spending an average of $4550 per person.
Nearly 88,000 Japanese visited New Zealand in 2010, spending $362 million.
In 2004, visitor numbers fell from 165,000 to about 78,000 in 2009 before rising 12% to 87,700 in 2010 -- helped along by additional Air NZ charter flights and increased marketing.
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