Air New Zealand will be adding two new direct services each week to China from December, meaning it will have a direct service to China every day.

The airline said today that it would be adding an Auckland-Beijing return service from December 6 and an Auckland-Shanghai return service during the peak summer season from December 11 to March 18 2012.

The move was in response to 20 per cent growth in visitors from China, Air New Zealand said.

It operates two return Beijing services a week, on Wednesday and Saturday, and three return Shanghai services a week, on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

The new Sunday Shanghai service and Tuesday Beijing service meant it would be offering daily direct services - more than 4250 seats each week between this country and China, the airline said.

Air New Zealand deputy chief executive Norm Thompson said China had enormous potential for the airline and for the New Zealand tourism industry.

New figures from the International Air Transport Association showed China was the fastest growing market in the world for international passenger traffic and it was important Air New Zealand was well positioned to respond, Mr Thompson said.

Auckland Airport chief executive Simon Moutter said it was vitally important for New Zealand to build more direct air services with China.

- NZPA