Special guests and passengers were greeted at Auckland International Airport with a welcome by Paula Bennett New Zealand Associate Tourism Minister, Len Brown Mayor of Auckland, Qu Guangzhou Charge d’ Affairs Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in New Zealand, Adrian Littlewood Chief Executive of Auckland Airport, Rui Jie Air China Australia and New Zealand General Manager, and Stephen Jones Air New Zealand Chief Strategy Networks and Alliances Officer, and a ribbon was cut to mark the occasion.
Under the alliance, Air China operates a daily direct A330-200 service between Auckland and Beijing and Air New Zealand continues to operate daily B787-9 Dreamliner services between Auckland and Shanghai.
Together the two national carriers will boost capacity between Auckland and Mainland China by more than 25 percent year round.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the airline is delighted to work with Air China, China’s national carrier, on the alliance and to grow capacity.
“This time last year, Air New Zealand welcomed President Xi to New Zealand and signed a Memorandum of Understanding so it’s pleasing that 12 months later we are launching the inaugural alliance service.
“Air China provides us with access to a strong and well-established network and distribution channel in China. The alliance also allows us to tap into 11 codeshare destinations within China, giving our customers even more options to not only explore Beijing’s world renowned tourist highlights such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the maze of hutongs or to travel to destinations beyond the capital.”
Air China Chief Executive Officer Song Zhiyong says he is pleased to strengthen the alliance with Air New Zealand and open up the new route.
“We are committed to working with our Star Alliance partner to meet the growing demand from travellers in both markets and provide greater benefits to them. Air China passengers will have enhanced access to Air New Zealand’s network including domestic New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands and South America.”
The airlines will celebrate the occasion with a gala dinner in Auckland tomorrow night.