18 JULY 2016
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Tianjin Airlines of China has become the latest carrier to announce it is adding New Zealand to its schedules, with flights expected to lift-off in December.
The company has applied to the Chinese government for approval to use an Airbus A330 three times a week to connect its home city of Tianjin with Auckland via Chongqing. China’s department of civil aviation is asking for public comments on the bid, a process usually regarded as a formality.
Tianjin Airlines has expanded quickly internationally and now flies to Gatwick as well as Thailand, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan and Japan.
The carrier is owned by the Hainan Group, which also owns Hong Kong Airlines. That company has already announced a daily direct service between Hong Kong and Auckland due to start on 10 November.
Both airlines are seeking to capitalise on the growing number of Chinese visitors to New Zealand, which in the year to the end of May this year rose by 27.4% to 394,528. Tourism New Zealand says the Chinese are now the second-largest visitor group to the country after Australia.
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