29 September 2013

An Open Letter to Sounds Air

Dear Sounds Air

You guys are a great airline! I’ve flown on you a few times to and from Picton and Nelson. You’ve really worked on finding yourself a niche, from Picton first and then from Blenheim and Nelson and you’ve done it without stepping on big brother’s toes! (well not too much anyway!). Finding a niche market of flying into the capital is what you do best and you really seem to have got the formula right... Good timetable, good fares, good relationship with your passengers and you are reliable!

And that’s why I think you guys should think about flying into Wanganui. It seems to me the River City has a lot of potential for an innovative company like yours over, with all due respect to big brother, a company like theirs.

What big brother did right was their timetable… south to Wellington in the morning, return in the evening. What they did wrong was their fares! This is where you guys do it better. Andrew, in July you told the Dom Post that, “Sounds Air could not compete with the national carrier's flexible fares, but where it won was in the fare structure that remained the same, no matter when a passenger booked. ‘If people want to travel next week, it's the same as if they want to travel tomorrow’." That’s gotta be a winner with your reasonable fare especially if you are the only pigeon in the race.

Of course you have to tell Wanganui people about the Airport bus service that gets them into Wellington city in a matter of minutes… A friend of mine was telling me he used it recently instead of a taxi – he thought the bus was a lot faster and certainly a whole lot cheaper. Flying you guys has got to be better than the hassle of driving into Wellington in the rush hour and the hassle of parking!

Of course the other thing that is in your guys favour is your flights on to Picton, Blenheim and Nelson. Do a deal on through fares and you get more bums on seats on both sectors. And then of course there is the possibility for a connection for those who want connections to big brothers and the other outfits super cheap fares to Christchurch. 

All you guys have to do is to convince Wanganui people to leave their cars at home and fly with you! You’ve convinced people to forget the ferry (and even some to forget big brother).

With all due respect to you guys, I know you have got your sights set on Masterton, but the success of that route seems to me is just what sort of cheap fares are going to be available from big brother and the other outfit in and out of the capital at peak time so your success is going be dependent on them. There will be no Masterton-Wellington business traffic to fill seats. Ask air2there – they tried Masterton-Wellington when they started and they didn’t last long!  (I think they also operated Wanganui-Wellington via Paraparaume which wouldn’t have been a winner).

Anyway, enough rambling! Keep up the good work Sounds Air! You’re doing a great job.



PS – I see a comment to a post on your Facebook page - Behave yourself, we only fly Caravans... Maybe it’s time to rethink that – a nice 18 seat pressurised turbo prop flying Masterton-Auckland and available for Cook Strait services in the weekend… Then you might be cooking with Jet A1




  1. I totally agree with this letter! It's time a 3rd level carrier stepped up to the play with a larger aircraft and took on the national carrier successfully.

  2. As soon as anybody gets nearly big enough or tries aggresivley to compete AirNZ will stamp all over it. We've seen it already with Origin, and more recently with the WLG-ZQN route. Christopher Luxton's comments in the previous post indicate a possible change of direction from this though....... I did day possible!

  3. I totally agree too - give it a good go and the locals will support you.