Christchurch Airport celebrates return of China Southern with cultural fusion

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 12, 2023 |

Photo: Chris Lynch

In a vibrant display of cultural harmony, Christchurch Airport witnessed a unique celebration on Friday night, marking the return of China Southern Airlines.

This event, highlighted by a blend of Chinese and Maori traditions, not only symbolised the strengthening ties between New Zealand and China, but also brought a wave of optimism for the tourism and export sectors.

Photo: China Southern

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger, who attended the ceremony, expressed excitement about the potential boost to the local economy. “Every person that gets off that plane has got some money in their pocket, and they want to go and spend it. It’s fantastic for tourism.”

The Guangzhou-Christchurch route, initially launched in 2015, quickly evolved from a summer seasonal service to a daily year-round link, enhancing connectivity and cultural exchange between the two countries.

Photo: Chris Lynch

NZ-China Friendship Society Patron David Carter shared his fascination with China. “Too many people think about America or Europe or Australia when it comes to travel. I’ve been to China a few times. It is the most fascinating country to visit. It’s the culture, it’s the history, it’s the people. I just love China, and I think more people would be excited if they took the opportunity to go and visit. It is so diverse, so interesting. I’d encourage people to do,” Carter emphasised.

The return of China Southern Airlines is a significant boost for local exporters as well.

Mauger highlighted the logistical challenges faced by exporters in the Queenstown area, who had to truck their products to Auckland due to a lack of wide-body jets in Christchurch.

United Airlines will offer direct flights from Christchurch to San Francisco in December

“This is a win-win for everybody.”

Justin Watson, CEO of Christchurch Airport, thanked China Southern for its support and expressed eagerness for the airline’s increased flight frequency.

The good news for international travellers doesn’t stop here. Cathay Pacific is set to start seasonal flights from Christchurch to Hong Kong next month, and United Airlines will offer direct flights from Christchurch to San Francisco, a first for connections between the South Island and the US.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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