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Cathay Pacific Reveals Success of Christchurch Service and Promises More to Come

Cathay Pacific Reveals Success of Christchurch Service and Promises More to Come

Thousands of passengers and tonnes of cargo carried on Cathay Pacific’s seasonal service


Cathay Pacific has revealed the numbers behind the success of its seasonal Hong Kong–Christchurch service – and announced its return for later in the year. ​

More than 16,000 passengers used the service, the majority of them landing in Christchurch and exploring the region. ​

But the big win was for South Island cherry growers, with more than 450,000 kilograms of cherries carried on the outbound flight. ​

The service was Cathay Pacific’s first seasonal restart since the pandemic anywhere in the world. It ran three times per week between 16 December 2023, and 29 February 2024. This service runs alongside Cathay Pacific's year-long Auckland-Hong Kong service, which is operated in partnership with Air New Zealand as part of a long-term Joint Venture Alliance.

Expectation for the service was high at Cathay Pacific and it appears to have been fully justified, with the airline confirming its return for December 2024. ​ ​

Cathay Pacific Regional General Manager Southwest Pacific Frosti Lau said: “The restart was a big moment in our network rebuild and demonstrated our commitment to the region. Now it has concluded, we’re able to review its performance and we’re incredibly pleased with the results. Customers and exporters have responded positively, and the support we’ve had from our partners at Christchurch Airport and Christchurch Council has been unwavering.”

The Hong Kong–Christchurch service will fly four times-per-week and is scheduled from 2 December 2024 to 27 February 2025. Flights are now available to book via the Cathay Pacific website.

Lau said: “There was no hesitation when it came to bringing our Christchurch service back and we’re thrilled to be able to allow more people to discover the superior service and comfort available when travelling with Cathay Pacific.” ​

Customers used the outbound service to explore Hong Kong and beyond with the United Kingdom, the Chinese Mainland, and other places in Europe and Asia all common travel destinations. Meanwhile, Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland, the Taiwan region, Vietnam and Malaysia were all popular Asian markets for New Zealand exports.

Although cherries dominated exports; dairy, meat, seafood, blueberries, and health supplements were all transported by Cathay Pacific’s flights – destined for markets in Asia and beyond. ​

Cathay Pacific was particularly proud of its ability to provide seafood exporters with a safe and viable route to Asian markets. ​

Lau said: “Exporting raw seafood is a complex process that depends on being able to guarantee a consistent temperature throughout the flight. Our ability to provide exporters in New Zealand with this service opens up significant commercial opportunities. Fresh mussels, clams and pāua (abalone) were all transported safely and securely to be enjoyed in restaurants and homes across the region.”

Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Justin Watson believes Cathay Pacific offers an important connection for Christchurch city and the South Island.

Watson said: “Cathay Pacific’s extensive network enables visitors from across the world to come to and explore our region, which benefits our communities and businesses. It also strengthens Christchurch Airport’s role as a long-haul travel hub connecting our city to global destinations.”

“Te Waipounamu the South Island’s food producers were delighted with the service – it enabled them to get hundreds of tonnes of more high-value product to markets in Asia quickly. They’ll be rapt the service is being increased and we expect to see even more cherries, seafood, meat and quality Kiwi kai (food) departing on Cathay Pacific flights later this year.”

Air New Zealand General Manager Long Haul, Scott Carr shared: “We’re excited that our strategic joint venture partner, Cathay Pacific, will continue its seasonal Hong Kong – Christchurch service from December 2024, after a successful 2023-24 summer season. We have a strong partnership with Cathay Pacific and this seasonal service will allow us, together, to stimulate tourism and trade to the South Island, as well as provide South Island based customers with better connectivity and choice to Hong Kong, and destinations in North Asia, Southern China and beyond.”

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