Air New Zealand is opening up South America to New Zealand travellers, with its first-ever scheduled service to the continent.


Commencing December next year, the airline will operate three weekly return flights on its Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Buenos Aires.

The service is part of a share agreement with Aerolíneas Argentinas, which will see the Argentinian airline’s code added to flights returning to the South Pacific.

Air New Zealand’s boss said flight time will be around 12 hours from New Zealand. A decrease from current flights that require New Zealanders to fly to Australia before heading out to South America.

“Buenos Aires is the most popular tourist city in South America and is a perfect stepping stone for those who then want to explore the country, or continent, further.”

Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand chief executive

The service will also enable Argentineans and other South American holidaymakers to travel directly to New Zealand and then on to Australia on Air New Zealand’s extensive trans-Tasman network, or to Singapore and South East Asia.

According to Tourism Industry Association New Zealand’s statistics, visitor arrivals to New Zealand from Brazil grew 21 percent over the last year to 12,300. And Argentinian arrivals jumped to 4,600.

Air New Zealand tail

Kevin Bowler, Tourism New Zealand’s chief executive, said new services will compliment the tourist bureau’s investment in the South American market such as the recent establishment of an office in South America.

“We’ve made some great progress in laying the foundations, but our success in attracting more South American visitors to New Zealand relies heavily on air linkages and we look forward to working in a partnership with Air New Zealand in the coming months to build in-bound demand for the new service.”

Kevin Bowler, Tourism New Zealand chief executive

Tickets on the new route will go on sale from March.

The news follows Air New Zealand’s recent announcement to add two new Boeing 787-9 to its fleet.

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Planning a trip to South America? Which country are you most keen to visit?