15 May 2015

Sounds Air announces yet another new service

Sounds Air's Facebook page has announced a new air service between Paraparaumu and Nelson. The announcement says "Since the demise of the national carriers Palmerston North to Nelson service demand has been strong to provide a replacement service. From the 15th June 2015 Sounds Air will be offering twice daily return flights from Paraparaumu airport to Nelson airport. We have managed to sort out some fleet capacity and are very pleased to offer morning and evening return flights. This has meant a slight change to our Paraparaumu - Blenheim service but does now open the whole Tasman/Marlborough region to Kapiti/Manawatu/Wanganui and beyond. Sames fares - still fixed, still cheap."

The schedule between Blenheim, Paraparaumu and Nelson is shown below.


BHE-PPQ      0700   0725
PPQ-NSN      0750   0830
NSN-PPQ      0850   0930
PPQ-BHE      0950   1015

BHE-PPQ      1630   1655
PPQ-NSN      1720   1800
NSN-PPQ      1820   1900
PPQ-BHE      1920   1945


BHE-PPQ      1600   1625
PPQ-NSN      1650   1730
NSN-PPQ      1750   1830
PPQ-BHE      1850   1915


  1. So after the people of Whanganui have been abandoned and cut off from the capital, the excess capacity will be used to destroy a fellow third level competitor. Nice job Sounds Air.

  2. Abandoned?. How can a very small hand full of passengers be called abandoning an entire city?. Are we not being a bit of a drama queen here?. Simple, use it or lose it, if it isn't used it must be lost. Perhaps this is why other 3rd level operators have ceased to exist beyond just a few years. When huge demand is openly voiced by the traveling public a 3rd level operator would have mince meat for a brain if they did not respond to that demand, and if their service proves more popular than the competition than surely it can not be the new operator's fault?. If a 3rd level operator has a monopoly on a route and get too comfortable/complacent then don't cry when a competitor challenges that and turns out to run a standard of service, with a standard of aircraft that the travelling public prefer. Time to invest in their service and up their game? Surely this makes more sense. SoundsAir will not crush anyone. The traveling public will choose which service they prefer, and THAT is what will crush the service that fails to impress.

    1. Plain and simple, there are two third level operators competing on a very marginal third level route. It cannot sustain two operators, much like most of regional nz. This has clear motive of anticompetitive behaviour:

      Their vague comment and reasoning for starting the service seems odd. There is a demand for passengers seeking a direct NSN - PMR flight. Why did they not commence this instead and allow Air2there to stay afloat, looking after its little neche.

    2. Time will tell. If they manage to knock out Air2 there on the route and the price all of the sudden rises you know what their intentions were from day one. I wonder how the Paraparaumu to Blenheim runs are going?
      I have heard that they have cancelled a few flights. One wonders if it was due to low/no passengers?

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  4. It was called precisely these things when Air NZ had to make the decision to leave the under supported and weather unreliable WSZ service. Time will tell if it has the same fate as the promise of continued connectivity SoundsAir gave to them.

  5. Exactly. Probably a demand for PMR-NSN, but I didn't hear people complaining about the lack of a PPQ-NSN service. Pretty sure NZ never even considered such a route. I think Sounds Air need to just focus on WSZ and TUO for now. Adding these PPQ flights and NPE flights are probably not the right idea at the present. They should wait until WSZ and TUO are ticking over nicely, them look at other expansion options. Air2There have sorta been plodding along in the sidelines, not sure how patronage on their services are.

    Arnt Sounds Air locked into to Westport for a period of ex amount of years? Agreed with above comment the WSZ was under patronized and unreliable weather wise. And now that Solid Energy have announced more staffing cuts, makes me wonder if Sounds Air regret their decision.....

    1. Westport Council guarantees 3 seats so Sounds Air should not be too worried. I guess the 3 seats cover the operating cost for the PC12 flight between WLG and WSZ. Taupo Council deal similar. Question is how long can this last as rate payers wont be happy I guess.

    2. There is no way 3 seats at $200 each covers the operating cost of a financed pressurised turboprop 2 million dollar aeroplane ! I'm sure it would help, but you couldn't sustain getting around with 3 passengers on, not in that thing.

    3. Indeed. Real world PC12 operating costs are quite a bit more than the manufacturer likes to quote. It's a great plane but it's not to cheap to operate. Does help though when the development arm of the local council has financed your aircraft purchase and then refuses to reveal any details about the deal because they are "commercial sensitive."

  6. "And now that Solid Energy have announced more staffing cuts, makes me wonder if Sounds Air regret their decision....."

    Good point. Did Solid Energy even use Sounds Air in the first place given that they are a single pilot, single engine outfit?

  7. SDA have also now confirmed BHE-NPE twice weekly..

  8. PMR to NSN would have a bigger chance of success I reckon than PPQ and Air NZ use to fly it too with Q300 for a while. It does seem strange they compete with Air 2 there out of the smaller PPQ market. They have already kicked Air 2 there out of Wellington entirely as they both competed to BHE and NSN along with Air NZ it was unusual to have 3 airlines in NZ flying the same route. Will be watching how it all unfolds.