Carry On: China flights boost, summer bottlenecks loom and more
Extra flights for Chinese New Year
China Southern Airlines is adding two more Dreamliner flights from Guangzhou to Auckland to cater for the busy Chinese festival and holiday period.
The airline, whch offers the cheapest fares through to Europe from New Zealand on its “Canton route,” already operates a daily Boeing 787 service and has announced this wll increase to 10 flights a week from December 1 to March 3, 2014.
Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, Glenn Wedlock, says the two new flights on January 26 and 28 will provide an extra 900 seats.
China Southern Airlines New Zealand general manager Mike Ma says the booking pattern for the peak summer season is already strong.
“Overall forward bookings have already reached more than 80% and we are very confident that the strong growth will continue into the new year,” he says.
Summer travel bottlenecks loom
Key Christmas travel routes will be bottlenecks thanks to the breakdown of the Cook Strait ferry Aratere and heavy bookings on Air New Zealand regional routes.
KiwiRail says it’s looking at leasing an interim replacement ship from overseas but the earliest one can arrive will be mid-January.
Atlantic Pacific American Express travel says while the Interislander service is still open to foot passenger bookings, no new vehicle bookings are possible as both remaining ships are now operating at full capacity. The alternative Bluebridge service is no better, with no availability at all on departures between December 25 and January 12.
Meanwhile, a check of Air New Zealand regional services to holiday destinations such as Gisborne, Napier/Hastings and Nelson show with a few exceptions that only the highest-price Flexi Plus fares are available. From Auckland, these can cost as much as $399 to Nelson one-way and $354 to Gisborne.
New routes: Edinburgh, Seychelles and more
• Qatar Airways will begin flights from its Doha hub to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh May 28, 2014, operating five flights weekly. The new route will be served by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a two-cabin configuration, offering passengers 22 Business Class and 232 Economy Class seats.
• Cathay Pacific Airways has launched a new code-share agreement with Air Seychelles that will add the Seychelles to its network from December 9 (subject to government approval). Cathay’s CX code will be placed on Air Seychelles’ three weekly return flights between Hong Kong and the Seychelles, and two flights per week from the Seychelles to Abu Dhabi.
This will be Cathay's second Indian Ocean destination for Cathay Pacific network in just two months. A four-times-weekly service to the Maldives started in October.
• Jetstar Asia will operate four additional weekly flights between Singapore and Penang, making it a double daily service. The capacity increase will see a total of 21,840 seats available each month.