Air New Zealand is a step closer to launching its proposed Shanghai service with the appointment of a Regional General Manager for Greater China and regulatory approval to operate three services a week into Shanghai's Pudong Airport.
Peter Elmsly, currently Air New Zealand's General Manager for Eastern Region, has been appointed to the newly created role, assuming responsibility from 1 May 2006.
Previously part of Eastern Regions, the move to appoint a separate Greater China General Manager reinforces Air New Zealand's commitment to launching a direct Auckland to Shanghai service later this year.
Based in Shanghai Mr Elmsly will have overall responsibility for China and Hong Kong operations including the launch of the Shanghai to Auckland service.
Having spent the last three years based in Japan, Mr Elmsly has an intimate understanding of the Asian market and experience in developing New Zealand as a premium tourist destination among Asian travellers. He also played an integral role in reviving demand and driving significant growth following challenging times such as SARS.
He also brings to the role more than 35 years of experience within Air New Zealand in various roles including General Manager of the United Kingdom and Europe markets and General Manager of Cargo.
Mr Elmsly said gaining approval to operate services into Pudong Airport enabled the airline to quickly progress plans to launch its service and start driving visitor growth from China, already New Zealand's sixth biggest source of visitor arrivals.
"With more than 88,000 visitors to New Zealand from China in the year ending February 2006, and strong forecasted growth, the opportunity to drive significant inbound tourism for New Zealand is endless. I'd like to look at ways of harnessing online sales capability to drive real growth within the Greater China region," said Mr Elmsly.
In addition to the launch of the Shanghai service, Mr Elmsly will also manage the introduction of the airline's new Boeing 777 aircraft on the Hong Kong route from 1 July, and driving growth to fill the 30 percent increase in capacity.
With approval to operate into Pudong, Air New Zealand is now finalising slot times with a view to begin selling fares in a few months time, followed by the commencement of services in November.
Air New Zealand will utilise its new 313-seat Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, configured in a format of 26 lie-flat Business Premier seats, 18 Pacific Premium Economy seats and 269 seats in Pacific Economy.
Airfares and flight schedules will be announced once slots have been gained.
The replacement for Mr Elmsly's role of General Manager of Japan will be announced later today.
Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs, contact: Pam Wong, +64 9 336 3144
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