In a recent development, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia has announced that they are going to launch a direct non-stop service between Christchurch and Perth, the capital of Western Australia. It is the first time in 20 years that this route has got a direct service. The service will be available twice a week starting December 2013 through till late April 2014, covering the entire busy period. Flights will take-off from Christchurch at 15:40 hours and from Perth at 19:10 hours Wednesdays and Saturdays.
In an official opening ceremony held at the Christchurch International Airport Limited’s new terminal facilities, Christopher Luxon, Chief Executive Officer of Air New Zealand announced the launch of the new service on behalf of the collaborating partners. Speaking on the occasion he mentioned that two of the most important trans-Tasman destinations – Perth and Christchurch did not have a direct service between them, necessitating and justifying the launch of this new joint effort.
He also highlighted that the timing of the launch has been perfect; powered by the above average growth rate of the Western Australian economy offering a stimuli that is surely to boost the travel sectors of both Christchurch and Canterbury. It is pertinent to mention that Christchurch is an important stopover point on the South Island, now that the airport authority has come up with a world class terminal that can take on the best in the industry.
Also speaking on the occasion, Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton mentioned that for the last two years Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have been working closely to launch this new service, one that is surely going to set a new standard in trans-Tasman flights. She also mentioned that the recovery work that has been made and the efforts that have gone into improving the travel sector in Christchurch over the last few months have been encouraging to witness. The new terminal will certainly help improve the tourism sector as well. Their joint efforts with Air New Zealand connecting Christchurch with Perth, the only Australian capital city that has a more than average growth rate when compared to the national rate, is a positive move that will have far reaching influences for Christchurch.
She also acknowledged the hard work and co-operation that the alliance has received from Perth Airport and Christchurch International Airport without which it would have been impossible to launch this direct non-stop service.
The new service which is a product of the trans-Tasman alliance between the two major airlines in this sector is a massive step forward for the tourism industry. Currently reauthorization for the same is being sought by the alliance. The service will be operated by an Air New Zealand Boeing 767 aircraft with Virgin Australia code-sharing on the service. This means an added advantage for travellers as they can book either on Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia and yet earn frequent flyer mileages irrespective of the airlines they choose. Additionally travellers would also be able to further travel to other cities from Christchurch or Perth using the extensive networks that these airlines have.