CHC population is relevant, overall it’s a smaller market.
Asian carriers, like CI, CX and CZ do not fly to CHC because of CHC's population - they do so, to cater for in-bound tourism.
If they pick up South Island-originating traffic, then great, but that traffic does not form the basis of CHC's route development.
I agree HX would probably go to CHC if CX dropped it and they likely would reduce AKL to add CHC.
On this, I would add that I could see:
- HX offering an OOL stop to CHC, to improve its OOL flight, which is performing poorly (fifth freedom traffic, unlike at CNS).
- Another HNA Group airline launching CHC - probably HU to SZX or PVG - given their continued expansion in Australasia.
HX could afford to offer a one-stop routing to CHC (unlike CX), given that it is a lower-yielding airline, with much lower fares.
NZ may take over which route? CHC-HKG? That won’t happen.
NZ has a history of taking over services within a JV development, like in the NZ - SQ scenario (the second daily AKL flight).
Given that CX picks up the bulk of the AKL flying in the JV, it seems reasonable that NZ could pick up the over-flow at CHC.
NZ could potentially do a CHC - PER - CHC - HKG - CHC routing, given that both CHC - PER / HKG would be seasonal.
I could see CX/NZ adding a third AKL NS and a forth NW daily
I doubt it, given that HX is flying 2x daily to AKL already, meaning that there are presently 5x daily flights on AKL - HKG (!).