Wayfarer TV: United Airlines readies to launch Christchurch, New Zealand flights in massive tourism boost

by James Wilkinson

United Airlines readying to launch a new Northern Winter service between San Francisco and Christchurch, New Zealand, from tomorrow California time (Dec 8) and the new flights have already proven a hit.

Tomorrow’s launch flight, originally scheduled to be a Boeing 787-8 aircraft, is now a larger Boeing 787-9 with larger premium cabins and almost all of the seats are full.

The new flights from United are part of the carrier now operating 66 flights per week between the United States and Australasia, the equivalent of 40% more services from the United States to Australia and New Zealand next northern winter versus last year.

A lot of the excitement first ever non-stop flight between San Francisco and Christchurch, which is a massive win for tourism.

“The American travel market is buoyant,” said Christchurch Airport Chief Executive, Justin Watson. “Americans are travelling widely again and we know they want to experience what the South Island offers.

“This new service will supercharge tourism value to New Zealand and statistics show American visitors who enter the country through Christchurch Airport spend 42% more in New Zealand and stay 33% longer.

“Based on government data, the seasonal service is forecast to bring in NZ$44 million in visitor spend for New Zealand, with NZ$32 million of that in South Island regions.

“This is the ideal combination of national value impact and regional economic impact.”

Watson said the United Airlines service will connect Christchurch, America and Antarctica.

“We are the world’s southernmost gateway to Antarctica, with the United States Antarctic Programme based here,” he said.

“That brings more than 3,000 staff, researchers and supplies from the US every year to Christchurch, and on to Antarctica in our summer.

“The service will make the west coast of America one flight away for South Islanders and we have every expectation the service will be well used in both directions.”

United’s Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances, Patrick Quayle, said the carrier already flies to more destinations in Australia and New Zealand than all other United States carriers combined, and now will have more flights and serve more destinations in the region from the United States than any other carrier in the world.

“This past winter, United enhanced our network and became the largest carrier to the South Pacific region,” he said. “Now, this upcoming winter, we will expand even further.

“Our strong partnerships with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia provide unparalleled connectivity, and with our historic expansion across five destinations in New Zealand and Australia, United is the clear choice for customers’ travel to the region.”

To find out the latest in Australasia, plus more flights to Asia, Wayfarer host Editor-In-Chief, James Wilkinson, exclusively spoke on video to United Airlines’ Managing Director of Worldwide Sales, Marcel Fuchs, at the 2023 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention in Dallas, Texas recently and click on the YouTube video above.