We reckon that’s an impressive 44 people posing behind the welcome banner at Auckland Airport to mark the arrival of Sichuan Airlines’ new non-stop service from Chengdu. The airline becomes the sixth carrier from China to offer non-stop flights to the New Zealand airport.
- Sichuan Airlines on 13 June launched its 11th long-haul route. The carrier now connects Chengdu (CTU) and Auckland (AKL) in New Zealand with three times weekly non-stop flights using its A330-200s. No other carrier connects these two airports which are 10,515 kilometres apart. It is the airline’s first route to New Zealand and fifth long-haul route from Chengdu, with the others being Dubai, Melbourne, Moscow and Prague. For Auckland it marks the sixth destination in China to be served non-stop from the airport after Beijing (with Air China), Chongqing (with Tianjin Airlines), Guangzhou (with China Southern Airlines), Shanghai (with Air New Zealand and China Eastern Airlines) and Shenzhen (with Hainan Airlines). Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s acting GM – Aeronautical Commercial, said of the new route: “New Zealand now exports over $12 billion worth of goods and services to China a year, making it our second largest trading partner after Australia. The increased cargo capacity that Sichuan Airlines will provide between Chengdu and Auckland will enable further growth in the trade of high value goods between New Zealand and China.” See how Auckland Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.