Tianjin Airlines will launch the first Chinese flights from Auckland to Chongqing and Tianjin, China, in December. The flights will operate between Tianjin, Chongqing and Auckland three times a week using an A330 aircraft.
It will be the first Oceania route for the airline. In May, Tianjin imported its first A330 aircraft, since then nine international routes have been in operation, including Tianjin-Moscow and Tianjin-Chongqing-London.
The launch will involve direct flights from China's fourth largest city, Tianjin to Chongqing, one of the world's largest urban centers and a major manufacturing and transportation hub in southwest China, and then fly to Auckland three times per week all year-round.
Chongqing is a major economic center of the Yangtze basin and has a population of more than 30 million. Chongqing has invested heavily in infrastructure and is well connected to the rest of China. These infrastructure improvements have led to the arrival of numerous foreign direct investors in industries including car manufacture, finance and retailing.
With a population of more than 15 million, Tianjin is the largest coastal city in northern China and the major gateway port serving the capital Beijing. It is also home to a Special Economic Zone where key experimental economic reforms are taking place, and has become a hub of advanced industries and financial activities with 285 of Fortune 500 companies now having presence there.
The A330 selected by Tianjin is designed to carry 260 passengers with 18 business class seats and 242 economy class seats. Auckland Airport estimates that Tianjin Airlines' new service will add 83,000 seats for Auckland route every year and will provide a $102 million boost to the New Zealand tourism industry.
Tianjin Airlines Company Limited was founded in June 2009, as an aviation enterprise co-established by Tianjin government and the HNA Group. It opened its first international route in 2010 and now operates more than 20 international routes, connecting China to Japan, South Korea, Russia, Southeast Asia and other international destinations. Within the next five years, the airline plans to add more than 10 A330 wide-body aircraft, and more international routes to Europe, Oceania and America, connecting to major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Melbourne and more.