Air New Zealand last week confirmed a summer season charter programme of 14 flights to New Zealand over the December 2012 - March 2013 season utilising the 230-seat Boeing 767-300. This charter programme double the size of last year's programme represents an additional 3,200 available seats to New Zealand over the Japan peak season.
Air New Zealand has also confirmed that six of the charter flights will operate directly to the South Island from this December increasing arrivals direct into Christchurch, following the decline as a result of the earthquake.
Tourism New Zealand's Regional Manager Japan and Korea Nick Mudge welcomes the commitment from Air New Zealand and key travel partners to run the summer charter series again.
"The extra capacity for the summer season charter programme shows confidence in the recovery of the market and is encouraging.
"Direct charter flights into Christchurch are great for the city as it rebuilds and are hugely beneficial for the wider South Island which will also see a direct increase in Japanese visitors.
"The quality of the Japanese market has long been important to the New Zealand tourism industry, and this charter programme provides a great opportunity to deliver more high value customers from Japan over our peak summer season.
"Japan is New Zealand's fifth largest arrivals market in terms of high value visitors. With the largest population of High Net Worth Individuals in Asia, and the second largest in the world after USA, Japan also has the highest percentage of mono-NZ holidaymakers amongst our long-haul markets globally, at 94 per cent," says Nick.
Typical itineraries for visitors flying into New Zealand on the charter services include onward travel to popular tourist destinations including Auckland, Rotorua, Canterbury Mt Cook, Queenstown and Fiordland.
Tourism New Zealand is supporting the charters with a programme of trade training and consumer seminars working directly with the Japanese trade partners.
Speaking at TRENZ earlier this year, Air New Zealand's deputy chief executive Norm Thompson said that the airline is focused on the lucrative Japanese market, which he believed would bounce back strongly.
For more information on Japan visit the Japan market pages here.