Cathay Pacific has confirmed plans to launch a new direct seasonal service between Christchurch and Hong Kong in December, operated by one of its new A350 aircraft.

The new service, flying three times a week, will link the two cities for the first time, operating over the seasonal peak from December 1 to February 28, and see Cathay and Air New Zealand extend their services between the two countries.

The airline has a joint venture with Air New Zealand and flies from its Hong Kong base to Auckland but has been under pressure to extend its operations to the southern city from airports and tourism groups.

The move was tipped by the Business Herald last week although Cathay declined to comment on the speculation.


The flights will depart from Hong Kong on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; and from Christchurch Monday, Thursday and Saturday (subject to regulatory approvals).

Cathay New Zealand manager Mark Pirihi said the airline was "delighted" to connect South Islanders with the carrier's global network.

"Travellers now have more choice with a one-stop service from Christchurch to a multitude of destinations across Europe and Asia via our global transport hub of Hong Kong," he says.

The Cathay-Air NZ strategic alliance agreement on services between New Zealand and Hong Kong has been extended for five more years, through to 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.