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China Airlines to launch seasonal link from Melbourne to Auckland

written by Jake Nelson | June 25, 2024

Rob Finlayson shot this China Airlines A350-900, B-18903.

China Airlines is adding a new seasonal service from Melbourne to Auckland in December.

Functioning as a tag to the Taiwanese carrier’s existing Melbourne–Taipei service, the A350-900 flights, which will operate every day except Monday and Saturday, are expected to add more than 3,000 seats per week between Melbourne and Auckland in time for the summer holiday period.

The flights will depart Melbourne at 1:40pm, arriving at 7:05pm local time before returning to Taipei via Melbourne at 9:05pm local time. Each China Airlines A350-900 offers 306 seats: 32 business class, 31 premium economy, and 243 economy.

The Melbourne–Auckland route is currently served by Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar. According to Melbourne Airport’s chief of aviation, Jim Parashos, the addition of a fourth airline will offer extra choice in product and schedule on the Melbourne–Auckland route.

“The launch of this new service will coincide with the start of the December school holidays meaning hundreds more seats are available just when families need them most,” he said.

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“China Airlines is making the most of what would otherwise be down time for its aircraft in Melbourne to operate this new service, and it’s a great result for consumers.

“It also gives Kiwis a new option to Asia, with passengers from Auckland able to connect through Melbourne on China Airlines to Taipei and beyond.

“Additional services and increased competition are critical during a time when we’re seeing softening passenger numbers amid cost-of-living challenges and still-high airfares.”

The flights are expected to bring Melbourne-Auckland back to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic seat capacity, with the market currently sitting at around 75 per cent of where it was in 2019. Auckland Airport chief customer officer Scott Tasker says this has led to fuller flights and higher fares.

“Melbourne is our second biggest trans-Tasman market, with around 1000 people flying between Auckland and Melbourne every day,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the flights haven’t been there to meet the demand and that’s been reflected in airfares that are well up on what we were paying pre-pandemic.

“It’s great to have a full-service airline like China Airlines step up its trans-Tasman services to include the Auckland-Melbourne route.”

China Airlines currently also operates an Auckland-Brisbane-Taipei route five times per week and plans to increase frequency to six per week in the summer months.

“We’ve had a long history with China Airlines connecting Auckland to Taiwan. China Airlines were also one of the carriers that continued flying to New Zealand through the pandemic, including regular freight-only passenger aircraft keeping our trade links up and running,” Tasker said.

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