Air NZ doubles charter flights from Japan

Air New Zealand will double the number of charter flights between Japan and New Zealand this summer as it expects a fresh increase in visitor numbers.

Fourteen flights will operate from seven Japanese cities.

Six will fly into Christchurch from Nagoya and the rest into Auckland from Kagoshima, Hiroshima, Takamatsu and Shizuoka.

The airline expects its charter programme, which operates on top of its regular services in Tokyo and Osaka, will bring in an extra 3200 tourists.

"Christchurch is a hugely appealing destination for Japanese visitors and we anticipate these charter services will be a welcome boost to South Island tourism over summer," Air New Zealand's Japan general manager Ed Overy says.

The airline is also increasing its capacity from Tokyo by 20%.

Japan is New Zealand's fifth largest source of visitors but the market has struggled to recover from the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says the extra capacity over summer shows the market is recovering.

"The quality of the Japanese market has long been important to the New Zealand tourism industry, and this charter programme provides a great opportunity to deliver more high value customers from Japan." 

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