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Air New Zealand joins Virgin Australia for new Christchurch-Perth route

Air New Zealand joins Virgin Australia for new Christchurch-Perth route

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia announced today they will become the first airlines to offer a direct service between Perth and the New Zealand city of Christchurch in over 20 years.

The twice weekly non-stop service will operate through the peak demand period from December 2013 until late April 2014.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon announced the new route, on behalf of the alliance partners, at the official opening this evening of Christchurch International Airport’s new terminal facilities.

Luxon highlighted Christchurch and Perth as the two largest trans-Tasman destinations without a current direct alliance service.

“This is a great time to be linking these two destinations,” he explained.

“The West Australian economy continues to grow at a faster rate than the rest of Australia and rebuilding activity is poised to stimulate travel demand within Christchurch and Canterbury.”

The new service has been made possible by the trans-Tasman alliance, for which reauthorisation is currently being sought.

It will be operated by an Air New Zealand Boeing 767 aircraft and Virgin Australia will codeshare on the service, so customers can book with either Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia and earn frequent flyer points and status credits in the process.

The new service will also provide convenient onward connections on the two airlines’ extensive networks from both Christchurch and Perth.

Flights depart Christchurch at 15:40 and Perth at 19:10, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.