16 July 2012

Timaru's Eagle Air Issues Addressed

Eagle Air's boss visited Timaru yesterday to give assurances the airline was committed to the city, admitting there had been "reliability" issues on its Timaru-to-Wellington link. A meeting was held with Eagle Air general manager Carrie Hurihanganui, Aoraki Development Business and Tourism (ADBT) and the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce to discuss community concerns about the reliability of the service.  More than 10 per cent of scheduled flights from April till June had been cancelled because of weather and maintenance issues. Mrs Hurihanganui was up front about the issues.  "There has been some planned maintenance and some unscheduled maintenance on the aircraft. We now have access to an additional aircraft, which we lease, that we can call on if needed. Now all we need to do is solve the weather. "We have been disappointed with the performance; we have not met the standards we have set, so we have made changes." She said rumours Eagle Air was cancelling flights because of a lack of passengers or that it was diverting aircraft in favour of other regional centres were untrue.  "We are committed to Timaru. We have added 10 per cent capacity to our flights.  "We do not cancel flights because of a lack of passengers. The planes are doing 14 sectors a day, so it doesn't make sense to ground a flight in Timaru when that plane is needed for the other flights." Eagle Air is contracted to Air New Zealand and makes 150 flights daily around the country.  The Timaru business community criticised the firm when it changed an early flight from Wellington to mid-morning. After consultation, Eagle Air decided to change the schedule so two flights a week out of Wellington will leave at 8.40am, arriving in Timaru at 10am.  "This will be effective from September 4 and is a direct response to community concerns that businesspeople could not make a day trip to Timaru to attend meetings with the current timings."  Both ADBT board chairman Ken McKenzie and chamber president Tony Howey were pleased with the outcome of the meeting.  "Eagle Air has now told us that they are genuinely committed to the service to Timaru and that they are taking measures to ensure that any cancellations of planes due to maintenance issues are kept at a minimum and that safety is their priority," Mr McKenzie said. Mr Howey was pleased the Timaru route was not under review.  "As a result of the meeting, a commitment has been made for Mrs Hurihanganui to make quarterly visits to Timaru to keep up to date with any issues regarding the air service and to receive feedback from the local community," Mr Howey said.

1 comment:

  1. Bring back the Nomads and just hub thru Christchurch!!