Chinese carrier Tianjin Airlines will later this month launch flights between Auckland and Xi'an, the home of the Terracotta Warriors

The airline will use an A330-200 on the once-a-week service to the city in central northwest China. The flight is in addition to three services a week the airline runs between Auckland and Tianjin and Chongqing that it started a year ago.

The first flight from Xi'an lands on December 30 and will add 27,000 seats a year in both directions.

Regional China is a developing source market for New Zealand tourism.

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Xi'an is a city of 8.7 million that was called Chang'an (meaning the eternal city) in ancient times, it is one of the birthplaces of the ancient Chinese civilisation in the Yellow River Basin area.

It is the capital of Shaanxi province.

The TravelChinaGuide says that as the eastern terminal of the Silk Road and the site of the famous Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty, which has won the city a reputation all over the world.

''More than 3000 years of history including over 1100 years as the capital city of ancient dynasties, have endowed the city with an amazing historical heritage,'' the guide says.

Tianjin Airlines is one of the fast-growing regionally-based Chinese airlines and the full-service carrier owns a fleet of more than 90 aircraft, including A320, A330 and E190.

It has opened more than 250 domestic and international routes, including Japan, Korea, Russia, Thailand, Britain and New Zealand.