Cathay Pacific is likely to announce service to Christchurch, New Zealand. This would be the carrier’s second station in New Zealand after Auckland. According to sources at Cathay Pacific, the new service from Hong Kong to Christchurch would be season operating from October to March during the Southern Hemisphere summer. Flights will operate four times weekly with Airbus A350-900 aircraft in a three class configuration. This would be Cathay’s second seasonal station after the announcement of flights to Barcelona, Spain starting in July 2017.
Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand presently have a joint-venture agreement on flights from Hong Kong to New Zealand. The two carriers code-share on each others’ services and have reciprocity agreements for their frequent flyer programs. It is expected the new Hong Kong – Christchurch flights would also operate in collaboration with Air New Zealand under the joint-venture agreement. The joint-venture agreement will be under review from the New Zealand Government and it is not definite whether it will be authorized for renewal.
Whilst the two carriers have enjoyed a duopoly, the recent arrival of Hong Kong Airlines into the New Zealand market has provided competition to the market. Hong Kong Airlines, which is part of the HNA Aviation Group (a shareholder in Virgin Australia), operates daily A330 services to Auckland from its Hong Kong hub with connections to mainland China and beyond. Hong Kong Airlines already flights to Cairns and Gold Coast in Australia with further expansion planned, including the recently announced flights by Virgin Australia to Hong Kong set to start mid-2017.
An announcement from from Cathay Pacific concerning the Christchurch service is “imminent” according to sources in Hong Kong.