Air New Zealand and China Air have agreed a new alliance that will deliver daily direct flights between Auckland and the Chinese capital, Beijing, for the first time.
The proposed alliance is subject to regulatory approvals and represents a major step up in air links between China and New Zealand, following the strong growth of services flown by China Southern, a rival state-owned airline to China Air, between Auckland the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
Air New Zealand already runs direct services between Auckland and Shanghai, in a code-sharing agreement with China Air.
"The proposed alliance will further open up Beijing as a new market to and from New Zealand and the airlines aim to almost double their sustainable capacity between China and New Zealand while offering a range of other benefits to travelerss, including greater frequency and network connections" to drive traffic growth in both directions, the New Zealand national carrier said in a statement.
Both airlines are members of the Star Alliance network.
"Auckland Airport estimates that the introduction of a new Auckland to Beijing daily service will contribute an additional $200 million in tourism spend to the New Zealand economy," said Norris Carter, Auckland International Airport's general manager, aeronautical commercial.