Air New Zealand is increasing its flights between Auckland and Shanghai, following the reopening of China’s borders earlier this month.
The airline will offer four passenger services a week from February 4, all operated on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The airline currently offers three flights a week, having added a service in early January.
The extra flight would take the weekly capacity to 1200 seats, said Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.
The airline had seen many customers booking Shanghai flights to be with family and friends Chinese New Yearafter nearly three years of Covid-19 restrictions.
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“This will be the first Lunar New Year that Chinese living in Aotearoa can be reunited with their families for this special holiday,” Geraghty said.
“We’re seeing very strong demand throughout January for our flights into China. Now flights are full or close to full.”
Air New Zealand also operates two cargo-only flights to Shanghai a week.
The airline would be flying around 500 tonnes of Central Otago cherries to Shanghai and Taipei ahead of Lunar New Year, as the premium fruit was a highly sought-after gift during the holiday.
New Zealand seafood was also in high demand, with around 350 tonnes set to be transported to Shanghai.
Air New Zealand has operated flights to China throughout the pandemicmostly for the purpose of taking New Zealand exports to market and bringing in vital supplies.