The last of four charted flights packed with $50 million worth of cherries, bound for Chinese New Year celebrations left yesterday.

Each 747 Singapore Airlines flight left from Christchurch Airport and carried about 85 tonnes of export grade cherries.

Next Saturday, marks the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster, and signals the biggest migration on the planet, when hundreds of millions of people travel to celebrate China's most important traditional festival.

Christchurch Airport's chief aeronautical and commercial officer Justin Watson said the airport's new services from China Southern Airlines and China Airlines were also carrying local freight to the region, including live lobsters, fruit and flowers.


"It is a time for celebration when people gather for their 'reunion dinner' on the New Year's Eve and generations of families sit around tables for what they consider to be the most important meal of the year," Mr Watson said.

"These additional flights allow us to tap into that market. There is a small window to get products out and the timely nature of it is interesting for our exporters. For cherry growers and the crayfish market, the timing lines up really nicely."