Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways will resume its seasonal flights to Christchurch during the Southern hemisphere summer season commencing in December.

The nonstop service will initially be operated by the airline’s Airbus A350-900 aircraft, offering customers the choice of economy, premium economy and business class travel.

Flights will depart Hong Kong on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving in Christchurch the following morning.

Tickets will go on sale today. Flights will operate three times a week between December 16 and February 29.

The seasonal restart is Cathay Pacific’s first since the pandemic and will prove a welcome boost to the Christchurch and South Island regions, particularly tourism operators and exporters, as well as those looking to connect with friends and family in Asia, Europe and beyond.

Cathay Pacific Acting Regional Head of Southwest Pacific Sandeep Pillay welcomed the announcement saying it was great news for those in the region and the airline. He said:

“Cathay Pacific has been flying to New Zealand for 40 years and we are proud to be returning to Christchurch. Resuming our non-stop Christchurch to Hong Kong service is a significant milestone in the rebuilding of Cathay Pacific’s connectivity. We know it’s a popular route and one we really value. In fact, it’s the first seasonal route we’ve reinstated since the pandemic,” commented Cathay Pacific acting regional head Southwest Pacific, Sandeep Pillay.

Pillay added that should the service prove popular, the airline may look to increase capacity on the route by switching the aircraft from the A350-900 to the larger A350-1000, adding an additional 54 seats per flight.

Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Justin Watson welcomed news of the service and is very much looking forward to having the world class carrier back.

“This is another vote of confidence in Christchurch, Canterbury and the wider South Island both as a visitor destination and a producer of quality, high value goods. It is fantastic news that will have widespread economic benefits – we look forward to seeing the Cathay Pacific tail outside our terminal soon,” said Christchurch Airport chief executive, Justin Watson.

Having launched in 2017, the service complements Cathay Pacific’s existing Auckland-Hong Kong service, operated as part of a long-standing joint venture with Air New Zealand.

This summer, Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand will jointly operate 10 flights a week between Hong Kong and New Zealand’s commercial capital Auckland.

Cathay Pacific will fly to Auckland three times a week – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – and Air New Zealand will operate daily flights between the cities with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The Cathay Pacific Group, comprising passenger airlines Cathay Pacific and HK Express, has been progressively rebuilding its passenger flight capacity and expects to resume 70 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger capacity levels, covering 80 destinations by the end of 2023.

Services from Cathay Pacific’s home hub of Hong Kong to Chicago and Johannesburg have recently been announced.

The Hong Kong flag carrier’s latest traffic figures also show continued improvement.