Four chartered Singapore Airlines flights will carry New Zealand cherries direct to Asia ahead of the Chinese New Year on 28 January.
Fairfax New Zealand has reported that the first two 747 cherry flights carried 95 tonnes of the South Island-grown fruit from Christchurch to Singapore on Thursday and Friday, with two more chartered flights scheduled for this week.
Christchurch airport chief commercial officer aeronautical, Justin Watson, told Fairfax that the Chinese New Year period brought not only Asian tourists to New Zealand, but also saw freight volumes out of New Zealand increase as well.
"So not only are we seeing a tourism impact from Chinese New Year, we're also seeing a production impact,” Watson said. "Cherries is the big one, then lobster and crayfish."
Fairfax is reporting that New Zealand’s cherry exports will be valued at NZ$50m, up on last season’s NZ$43m.
During the 2015/16 season, New Zealand cherry export volumes tipped 3,400 tonnes, a 21 per cent increase on the year prior, with Taiwan the biggest export market.