Air New Zealand is doubling the number of charter services it operates between Japan and New Zealand, with 14 from seven Japanese cities confirmed for this summer season.
The charter programme, which is additional to Air New Zealand’s regular scheduled services from Tokyo and Osaka, is expected to bring up to 3200 additional Japanese tourists into New Zealand over the peak summer months.
Air New Zealand General Manager Japan Ed Overy says the significant increase in charter services this summer reflects the strong growth in demand from the Japan region.
“This is our fourth year of charter operations. We continue to be very encouraged by the appetite for destination New Zealand from regional Japan and are especially pleased to be offering charters from new destinations within Japan this year.
“Last summer we operated seven charters from Japan - four from Nagoya, two from Fukuoka and one from Kagoshima. This year we’ve doubled that number and will be adding services from Hiroshima, Takamatsu and Shizuoka.”
Mr Overy said the airline had worked in partnership with Auckland International Airport Ltd and Christchurch International Airport Ltd in putting together this year’s programme.
“We are excited to this year be operating services directly into Christchurch, as well as to Auckland. Christchurch is a hugely appealing destination for Japanese visitors and we anticipate these charter services will be a welcome boost to South Island tourism over summer.”
The 14 charter services are on top of a 20% increase in capacity over the same time last year from Tokyo, with the airline operating six services a week from Tokyo in November and daily services from December along with three services per week from Osaka.
“As New Zealand’s fifth-largest source of tourists, Japan continues to be a hugely important market for us and one we firmly believe offers New Zealand enormous opportunity. We’ve spoken publicly about our goal to return to daily services to Tokyo as demand from Japan returns. This move to daily services from December further illustrates our long-term belief in and commitment to this important market.”
Christchurch International Airport (CIAL) Chief Executive Jim Boult says the charter services are sure to be well supported by Japanese travellers.
“Most international travellers come to New Zealand for our awesome mountains and lakes, so they love flying into Christchurch over the Southern Alps,” he says. “The South Island is a ‘must’ in any Japanese travel itinerary and we look forward to working with Air New Zealand to bring more Japanese visitors here.”
The charter programme begins with a service from Hiroshima into Auckland on 19 December and concludes with a service between Shizuoka and Auckland on 20 March 2013.
All services will be operated by Air New Zealand’s Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, which accommodate 230 passengers.