Thousands more trans-Tasman seats into Christchurch next summer

21 May 2014

More than 40,000 extra seats will become available on trans-Tasman services into Christchurch next summer.

Christchurch International Airport is welcoming Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia's commitment to Christchurch and the South Island with their just announced 13% increase in capacity.

The airport's General Manager of Aeronautical Business Development says the airlines' announcement comes at a good time.

"The additional scheduled services across the Tasman from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne into Christchurch come at a time when capacity is getting tight and demand is now outstripping supply," says Matthew Findlay.

"International volumes to Christchurch returned to growth last October. For the past 6 months, our international passenger movements have grown 4.7% over the previous year and over the same time, planes across the Tasman have been their fullest since 2010. Airlines are responding to the market and providing more capacity where demand most needs it." 

Mr Findlay says the airport's analysis indicates Christchurch Airport had the highest load factors into New Zealand for the most recent 6 month period, October 2013 – March 2014.

He says the additional 43,000 seats over summer 2013/14 will provide a boost to the local, regional and national tourism industry.

Based on early estimations and existing average spend, this new capacity could be worth an extra $10m for the visitor economy this coming summer.

Matthew Findlay, General Manager of Aeronautical Business Development, Christchurch International Airport

"Research has shown that of all international arrivals to Christchurch, 65% of arriving passengers stay longer and spend more when they arrive in Christchurch. Our arriving visitors tend to have a broader regional stay, so based on early estimations and existing average spend, this new capacity could be worth an extra $10m for the visitor economy this coming summer.  That's great news for the recovering tourism sector in Canterbury and the wider sector in the South Island."

Mr Findlay says statistics show continued strength in passenger movements between Christchurch and international markets, with passenger counts up on last year across many different nationalities.

He says enhanced schedule spread to and from Sydney is great news for travellers connecting there.

"It means business travellers, and people wanting to connect beyond Australia, now will have increased choice. Increases in services between Brisbane and Melbourne will also please many travellers, as does the return of direct Christchurch-Perth next summer."