Air New Zealand said it will fly up to 5 times per week direct between Auckland and Taipei Taoyuan International Airport starting in November 2018.
The 11 hour flight NZ77 will depart Auckland at 10:35am and arrive in Taiwan at 4:50pm local time. Flight NZ78 will depart Taipei at 6:30pm, arriving in Auckland at 10:20am the following day.
The route will be flown by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Air New Zealand briefly flew direct to Taipei in the winter of 2005/2006, but suspended the flight because of under-performance.
Around 36,000 people visit New Zealand from Taiwan every year, a growth of around 73% over the last 5 years, according to Christopher Luxon, Chief Executive of Air New Zealand.
“We’re confident a direct link will grow numbers further,” he said.
“It’s part of deepening that Pacific Rim strategy and those deep connections into Asia – Taipei is a really fantastic place, it’s a wealthy city.”
“We are optimistic about this trend and the market Potential and optimism to expand Taipei’s direct service to provide more comfortable, convenient and fast new choices for Taiwanese travelers, ” Luxon said.
Direct flights can be booked through the New Zealand Airlines official website or from major travel agencies starting at NT $ 27,000.
Flight Centre’s NZ product manager Sean Berenson said 2018 had already seen double growth in the number of New Zealanders travelling to Taipei.
“Previously, travellers had to take a rather roundabout route to get to Taipei, but with this new direct route, this is set to change and we expect to see continued growth in this destination due to this. We envisage the route to be particularly popular with our VFR (visiting friends and family) customers and business travellers,” he said.
Standard return economy fares on Air New Zealand’s website today for that month are around $1530, although airlines will usually launch new routes with promotional deals.
At present Taiwan’s China Airlines flies to Auckland and Christchurch but via Brisbane and Melbourne.
Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, Scott Tasker, said the announcement was great news for New Zealand and would add 95,000 seats to the route and inject $80 million annually into the New Zealand economy.
The new service will also provide opportunities for trade, with the addition of 4,368 tonnes of air cargo capacity between New Zealand and Taiwan annually. In 2017 the key exports to Taiwan were strawberries, avocados and dairy products.
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