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#1 Posted : Friday, November 30, 2018 2:15:27 PM(UTC)

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Carry on: Xiamen for Auckland, Cathay for Christchurch, Virgin for HK and more

Auckland Airport has confirmed Chengdu will be the 46th international destination reached by direct flights. Sichuan Airlines will fly from its base in central China from mid-June, with a three-days-a-week service. Carry On understands another Chinese airline, XiamenAir, will launch a service from mid-December.武漢航空券

Xiamen Airlines, as it was originally known, was established in 1984 and is the oldest of China’s modern airlines. Its major base is in Fujian, a coastal province, but it also operates from Fuzhou and Hangzhou. Its major shareholder is China Southern (51%), the pioneer of the seven Chinese airlines operating to New Zealand (including Sichuan).

XiamenAir has an all-Boeing fleet of 145 aircraft, including eight 787 Dreamliners with another four on order. It is a member of the Sky Team alliance and flies to 70 destinations worldwide from its three hub airports.

Cathay looks south for next destination
Cathay Pacific is the latest Asian carrier seeking to diversify its New Zealand options by flying to Christchurch as well as Auckland. Cathay operates a joint-venture agreement with Air New Zealand on the Hong Kong-Auckland route, which is now being contested by Chinese-owned Hong Kong Airlines.

The proposed Hong Kong-Christchurch service is expected to operate only during the New Zealand summer. Cathay will run a similar seasonal long-haul route to Barcelona in the coming northern summer. Aviation thinktank Capa says the government reluctantly agreed to extend the joint venture with Air New Zealand, despite both airlines reneging on a condition to add a leg to Christchurch. This is a sensitive issue in the south after Air New Zealand cancelled its Japan-Christchurch service.

So Cathay’s bid to fly direct is seen as a way of extending that agreement, which the government is likely to do now there is some competition. Cathay hasn’t yet confirmed any Christchurch move. But if it does it will join Singapore Airlines, China Southern and China Airlines as major airlines flying into the South Island.
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