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.
Posted by Steve L at 12:11 PM