20 October 2015

Te Anau tries to woo Kiwi Regional

Passenger numbers are increasing and Te Anau Airport Manapouri management say the regional airport has attracted the attention of Kiwi Regional Airlines. Airport manager Evan Pearce said the growth of the airport had attracted significantly larger flights to Te Anau this year - part of an ongoing growth pattern in passenger numbers during the past four peak tourist seasons. Kiwi Regional Airlines started in response to Air New Zealand cancelling some regional routes, and offers return flights between Hamilton and Nelson, Nelson and Dunedin, and Dunedin and Queenstown. "The interesting thing is the airline is actually interested in coming to us as a destination and that's quite positive. They've said that we're on their radar and they are keen to talk once they've got their structure sorted," Pearce said. The largest landings were tours from the United States, including Tauck Tours which arrived in New Zealand every August, with other tour groups also arriving throughout the summer season. The exclusive tour group is mainly made up of retired academics who are interested in the geology and natural history of Fiordland. "They're our largest passenger group, they come into the airport every Tuesday and Saturday afternoon. "They come here and they get accommodation in Te Anau for two nights." Tauck Tours travelled from Rotorua to Blenheim to Te Anau. "It's our staple diet over the last year. We've got more passengers then we've ever had," Pearce said. The airport has employed two new ground-handlers as a response to increased landings in Te Anau. "That's obviously been a big benefit to the region," Pearce said. Pearce said the airport welcomed many corporate clients each year. However, it was competing with Queenstown. "The thing is Queenstown is more attractive and we're not the big destination compared to what Queenstown has to offer." Operations manager Lee MacGillivray said the number of passengers on passenger aircraft to Te Anau Airport during the tourist season had increased year on year since 2011. A report in this month's Te Anau Community Board agenda says there were 1075 passengers on large aircraft to the airport in the 2011-12 tourist season, which is from August to May; there were 1363 passengers in the 2012-13 tourist season. In the August 2013-May 2014 tourist season there was another 3 per cent jump in passenger plane numbers; and there was a further 18 per cent increase in passenger plane numbers in the August 2014-May 2015 season. The airport plans to introduce scheduled flights in the future.


  1. Having just recently moved to Te Anau from the Bay of Plenty, I do wonder about the sustainability of a airservice to TEU. A lot of us locals travel to ZQN especially (direct AKL flights) or IVC. In talking with others they all seem keen for a air service from our local, and would be willing to pay for the convenience. Will be interested to see how this pans out. Being said though, we would welcome Kiwi with open arms!

    1. Open arms are great but it's open wallets that would see it be a success or not. Great examples being Wanaka, Westport and Oamaru that were supported as far as getting the service, but actually paying what it realistically costed to operate suddenly became a problem.

      Also these small ports need the infrastructure, rental cars etc. that's what MRO, WAN and OAM never had was good transport links from airports

    2. Hence as I said, in talking with others we would be more then happy to pay for the convenience! I flew from ZQN to CHC on the weekend. It cost me $50 in gas there and back, plus $35 to park at the airport for two days. That's $85 extra on top of the airfares I would be more then happy to pay for the convenience to fly out of Manapouri. Would love to see our fabulous little airport receive scheduled flights!

    3. If only more thought the way you do, it's a similar argument from PPQ people say it's not worth driving and parking in WLG... Yet many just can't see past that higher seat cost for the plane and just blame Air NZ instead.

    4. Unfortunately you are dead right. This is exactly the case as you say with places like PPQ ect. To be able to shave a 2hr drive off your trip especially on the trip home would be absolutely fantastic. A long international flight, then a Dom connecting flight to ZQN or IVC, and then a 2hr drive back home can be a real killer! :)

    5. Deal breaker for PPQ is the lack of a well established rental car co. Would be nice for a voucher for a coffee in lieu of a lounge...

    6. Although not the same, Air NZ passengers do receive basic refreshments, tea, coffee, water and cookie time biscuits PPQ-AKL and PPQ-CHC.

      SoundsAir passengers PPQ-NSN receive nothing but the trusty old C208.