Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand today announced that they would begin operations of direct a twice weekly Perth to Christchurch service that will operate during the peak travel period between December 2013 and April 2014 The service that will be operated by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia will codeshare on is the first direct service between the two cities in 20 years has been made possible by the trans-Tasman alliance. Flights are scheduled to depart Christchurch at 1540 arriving in Perth at 1910 on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon announced the new route, on behalf of the alliance partners, at the official opening this evening of Christchurch International Airport Limited’s new terminal facilities. Mr Luxon highlighted Christchurch and Perth as the two largest trans-Tasman destinations without a current direct alliance service. “This is a great time to be linking these two destinations. The West Australian economy continues to grow at a faster rate than the rest of Australia and rebuilding activity is poised to stimulate travel demand within Christchurch and Canterbury.” Mr Luxon says “Christchurch is also a convenient hub for the whole South Island – particularly now the airport company is providing world class terminal facilities.” Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton said Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have been working together for around two years now to ensure that they offer the best possible network and service across the Tasman. “We have been very pleased with the recovery we have seen on Christchurch routes in recent times and we expect traffic to continue to increase as a result of the new airport facilities. Linking Christchurch with Perth, which has long had the highest growth rate of all Australian capital city airports, will provide an attractive service for business and leisure travellers alike. “The hard work and cooperation of Perth Airport and Christchurch International Airport has been integral to the formation of this new route and we look forward to working with them in future for the benefit of our customers”, Ms Crompton said.
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