Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines will start flying to Auckland, joining a wave of new services between New Zealand and China launching during the next three months.

The three-times a week Hainan service between Shenzhen in south-east China and Auckland will use an A330 aircraft.

Shenzhen is located in southern China and is in Guangdong Province with a population of 18 million people.

Norris Carter, Auckland Airport's general manager - aeronautical commercial, said the announcement was fantastic news for the airport and the New Zealand tourism industry.


"This non-stop service will not only grow the number of visitors from Southern China, it will also give Chinese travellers further connecting flight options to Auckland from other areas in China through the extensive Hainan Airlines' network," said Carter.

Auckland Airport estimates that Hainan Airlines' new service will add 81,000 seats to the China to Auckland route every year and provide a $102 million boost to the New Zealand tourism industry.

Hainan Airlines is part of the HNA group and is the largest privately-owned air transport company and the fourth largest airline in terms of fleet size in China. The airline has been operating for 23 years with 162 aircraft in operation.

In November, Hong Kong Airlines will start services to Auckland in competition with Cathay Pacific and another Chinese carrier, Tianjin Airlines, is due to start services from northern China in December.

Other mainland carriers China Southern and China Eastern have boosted services during the past year and Air China has begun flights from Beijing in partnership with Air New Zealand. Outbound tourism is booming from China and relatively cheap fuel is encouraging airlines to explore new opportunities.

The surge in the number of airlines and increased competition has prompted Air New Zealand to warn that it expects its earnings to decline during the current year.