American Airlines, in association with Qantas, will operate a new seasonal direct service between Christchurch and Los Angeles, three times a week, from October 2020 to March 2021. It’s been decades since the South Island last enjoyed direct Trans-Pacific flights to California. Christchurch Airport predicts the just announced direct flights to Los Angeles will turbocharge tourism value to New Zealand.
Christchurch Airport Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson says the service will turbocharge the New Zealand tourism industry and the national economy, because statistics show American visitors landing into Christchurch are high value visitors.
“Americans who enter the country through Christchurch Airport spend 32% more and stay 34% longer than if they arrive elsewhere. When they arrive into Christchurch, American visitors spend 77% of their time in the regions of the South Island, compared to the American visitor average of 51%.”
“Based on government data, the seasonal service is forecast to bring in an extra $52 million in visitor spend for New Zealand, with $40 million of that in South Island regions. This is the ideal combination of national value impact and regional economic impact.”
Mr Watson says the American Airlines service is a direct response to Americans’ very strong interest in the South Island. “US visitor arrivals into Christchurch grew by 14 percent last year, as part of our growth in passenger numbers being higher than the national average. During a tourism delegation visit to the US July, travel agents told us they are getting increasing requests for travel to the South Island from visitors wanting to experience our place in the world.”
Christchurch Airport’s strategy is to bring value to New Zealand through attracting high value visitors to the regions of the South Island. The CHC-LAX direct service commences in just under 12 months’ time.