Tianjin Airlines is to add new UK services to Xi’an and Auckland, as the carrier welcomes two new A330-200s into its fleet this month.

From December the Chinese airline will offer a connecting service between Gatwick and Auckland, via Chongqing.

The Chongqing-Auckland service will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, departing the Chinese city at 0030 and arriving into Auckland at 1800, with the turn leg leaving the New Zealand city at 2100 and landing back into Chongqing at 0530 the following day.

Tinajin currently offers a twice weekly service from Gatwick to Chongqing (which then connects onwards to Tianjin), departing Gatwick on Wednesday and Saturday. This will increase to three times-weekly from next summer.

In addition the carrier is to launch a new Gatwick-Xi’an route (continuing onto Tianjin) from May 2017. Schedules have not been given, but the service will be operated by an A330-200 configured for 18 business class seats and 242 in economy, with a flight time of around ten hours.

Commenting on the news Guy Stephenson, Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer, said:

“We are delighted that Tianjin has announced a new route from Gatwick to China. Tianjin Airlines now connects Gatwick to three of China’s megacities, including the UK’s only direct flights to Xi’an, home of the Terracotta Army, and Chongqing, southwest China’s commercial capital.

“Our passengers will value the increased frequency of services to China announced today and the exciting new onward service to Auckland.”