Emirates is to fly to Christchurch from 10 June 2004, marking its second footprint in New Zealand after Auckland, which joined the Emirates route network in August last year. The new connection to Christchurch will be an extension of the upcoming Dubai-Melbourne non-stop service, which Emirates will operate with the ultra long-haul A340-500 aircraft. Initially flying three times a week, the service will double to six times weekly on 1 August.
This means that Emirates will offer a total of 27 flights a week to New Zealand by August. The airline presently flies to Auckland daily via Sydney, daily via Singapore and Brisbane, and daily via Singapore and Melbourne.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Group said: “Emirates is happy to offer yet another exciting destination to our passengers. Our Christchurch service will provide excellent connections for New Zealand passengers travelling to Australia, and onward to Europe, Africa or Middle Eastern cities via our Dubai hub. Similarly, it will bring our customers from other parts of the world another speedy and convenient route to New Zealand.”
Sheikh Ahmed noted that New Zealand is an increasingly popular destination for leisure travellers from Europe and the Middle East. The largest city in New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch offers a multitude of options for outdoor and sporting activities amidst a backdrop of scenic mountains, rivers, lakes, and beaches.
“Christchurch is the gateway for outdoor and adventure tourism in New Zealand’s South Island, and we anticipate our new service will cater to this growing demand,” he added.
George Bellew, Chief Executive for Christchurch International Airport said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Emirates to Christchurch. This service brings Christchurch to within one stop of what can be described as Europe’s most easterly hub.”
“Dubai is one of the dynamos of the Middle East, and Emirates is already one of the world’s leading airlines, with a strong reputation for service and quality. We are very much looking forward to the inauguration of Emirates’ services in June,” he added.
Emirates’ new service to Christchurch will also offer cargo belly capacity to exporters in New Zealand’s South Island, and provide a convenient air link to connect their businesses to Australia, the Middle East and points beyond.
From 10 June, flight EK406 will depart Dubai on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 1010 hours, arriving in Melbourne at 0530 hours the next day. It will then fly onward to Christchurch at 0715 hours, touching down at 1230 hours. Return flight EK407 will take off from Christchurch on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 1805 hours, landing in Melbourne at 1945 hours. From Melbourne, the flight will depart for Dubai at 2130 hours, arriving in 0540 hours the next day. All flight times indicated above are local.
From 1 August, the Dubai-Melbourne-Christchurch service will operate six times weekly, departing Dubai from Mondays through Saturdays.
The A340-500 aircraft which Emirates will use on this new route carries 12 First Class, 42 Business and 204 Economy passengers, and 14 tonnes of cargo. Emirates has taken delivery of four A340-500s, with four more on order.
The airline has invested US$1.8 billion in its fleet of A340-500s to ensure that its long-haul passengers travel in maximum comfort. The aircraft boast several innovations including the world’s first enclosed suites in First Class; mood lighting which help ease jetlag; and an inflight entertainment system with over 500 channels - three times as many as rival airlines.