01 January 2017

Crystal Ball Gazing for a New Year

Happy New Year

May 2017 be a good year for you 
and those you love

It's been a while since I wrote an opinion piece... the start of the New Year offers an opportunity to speculate on the year ahead on our regional air services.

Starting with the big guys...

Air New Zealand
Last year we saw the end of Eagle's services and the Beech 1900s... this led to Whanganui being dropped from the national carrier's network as well as flights between Blenheim and Christchurch. Sadly, I don't think we have seen the end of the cuts... I suspect Timaru, Hokitika and Whangarei will all be under the microscope as well as Hamilton-Palmerston North-Wellington.

It sounds as if Jetstar are getting another Q300... If there is a new route my pick would be Auckland-Tauranga. Can't see Jetstar doing a lot else at present.

And now moving down the country...

Air Chathams
Air Chats added a Convair, Saab and Metro to their fleet in 2016. Whanganui seems to be doing okay and they really get the locals in behind them. If Air NZ pull out of any route look out for Air Chats on the lolly scramble... certainly Air Chats is the airline I would want if I was a mayor faced with no air service. Maybe another Metro as Airwork flicks their Metros.

Barrier Air 
Barrier Air tried a few new services last year but they never really took off. Kaitaia seems to be a lot more stable now with the single return flight and the Caravan being used during the day to Great Barrier Island. One wonders if another Caravan might eventually be in the wings... SDB is certainly getting a lot of use

Fly My Sky
Steady as she goes.

A new comer to the Coromandel now with two Airvans... An innovative operator but no real formal air service. One wonders whether something might happen with them

Steady as she goes. I was disappointed they didn't persevere with the Navajo as I feel it has more appeal than the Aztec. The Ardmore connection has them busy at weekends and the service to Gisborne seems to operate steadily. I thought they might have reintroduced Napier after Air NZ pulled Hamilton-Auckland. People flying from Napier to Hamilton have to go via Wellington now.

Air Napier
Steady as she goes on the Napier-Wairoa-Gisborne courier run. I'd like to see them advertise their flights better

Steady as she goes. Sounds Air's move into Paraparaumu didn't seem to impact on their routes to Blenheim and Nelson

Sounds Air
A busy year with another Pilatus added to the fleet just before Christmas... what for one wonders??? I suspect the Kaikoura earthquake changed every thing. Certainly I think Christchurch-Blenheim will generate more traffic and this might absorb the new Pilatus. I suspect the Kaikoura-Blenheim service will remain until SH 1 reopens to the north while I think the Christchurch-Kaikoura will end with maybe a Wellington-Kaikoura replacement.

Still haven't got their Jetstreams up and running. I'm disappointed they have never got the Nelson-Palmerston North service right... the timetable has been lousy. And I am surprised no one else hasn't moved onto the route. 2017 will be a make or break year for Originair

Golden Bay Air
Steady as she goes

And further south

There have been talks about Air Safaris starting a service to Christchurch and Air Milford is going to try a weekly Queenstown-Manapouri service... Can't see anything enduring from either operators. Mainland Air tried services from Dunedin to Invercargill and Alexandra/Queenstown. Maybe a Sunair type air taxi service would work including Wanaka and Te Anau. In the end though there is not the traffic or distance to warrant these services and Dunedin airport being so far from the city is not helpful...

And for our southern most airline

Stewart Island Flights
Again, steady as it goes though I'm surprised they haven't done a Queenstown-Stewart Island service...

So my pick, a consolidation year unless Air NZ drops some more routes


  1. My thoughts:

    Air NZ will cut CHC-HKK and HLZ-PMR-WLG. WLG-TIU, AKL-PPQ and WLG-IVC will be reviewed heavily but will remain. Air NZ will also postpone a few of the upcoming ATR orders and pull a few of the 500's out earlier than expected. More A320's will be put onto WLG-CHC. There will be a seasonal ROT-NSN-ZQN service announced that will go better than expected.

    Jetstar will announce AKL-TRG early in the year. Later in the year another 3 Q300's cross the ditch and are CHC based, allowing CHC-ROT, CHC-NSN, CHC-DUD, CHC-IVC and re-instating CHC-ZQN. WLG-NSN and AKL-NPL are reduced to 2x daily.

    Sounds Air will grow substantially. They will take over CHC-HKK and also provide a WLG-HKK link. They will also buy out Originair and use the Jetsteam on WLG-NSN. NSN-PMR will go to PC12. An interline agreement with Golden Bay Air also forms.

    Air Chathams will acquire a new Metro for a 2x daily WHK-WAG-WLG service. They will also look at getting a J41 or another Saab to pick up Kiwi Regional's old routes. They will create an agreement with Barrier and Sounds Air creating a great regional network within NZ.

    Great Barrier will continue what it is doing, but reinstate AKL-HLZ with a better timetable and connections. A HLZ-WRE service will also operate.

    Airport wise;

    AKL will experience continued growth from Chinese carriers. Etihad will also look at a service, and some QF 737 flying will be carried to A330's all year round. WLG's current SQ service will be changed to a Scoot service. No new international long-haul carriers will start services, but Emirates and China Southern express interest. United start a 3x weekly service from CHC to LAX. The CHC-PER route goes year-round and a service from NRT is reinstated.

    Air NZ and Jetstar will put pressure onto NSN to become jet capable as numbers reach well over 1,000,000 early in 2017. Napier pushes for international flights and Tigerair look into it. DUD-BNE gets replaced by DUD-SYD. ZQN goes completely jet services, and DUD only sees turboprops from CHC. PMR gets a daily A320 from AKL.

    1. Oh my! That is certainly an interesting review of what-ifs!
      Frankly, I think we would all be quietly pleased for the travelling public that the CHC-HKK run along with HLZ-PMR-WLG vv are both doing very, very well when it comes to bums on seats. Often counted 40+ on the flights in/out of PMR on both north and southbound routes.

      Barrier Air are actively researching a second 208 to assist ease the noticable pressure SDB is under with it flying a very busy daily schedule. I was surprised to read the PA31's had been withdrawn from service in August '16. Interestingly ZK-RDT departed NZ mid December, ultimate destination unknown.
      Stark have certainly pulled out all the stops with the two Airvans but one has to wonder just where their business is coming from as they do little in the way of social media or online. Guess local mailbox drops?
      Has there really been talk of Air Safaris doing a run to ChCh? Surely that would be well outside their core business and a very risky proposition although they do have the equipment.
      There was some discussion around the possibility of a third level, Chinese backed operation from an Auckland region airport. Given that Ardmore is now owned by Chinese investors perhaps this will become home for such activity. Maybe Barrier Air will be given a much needed cash injection from a Chinese backer?

    2. Anon, I think your Jetstar predictions are probably very accurate...

      Not sure about nz pulling out of hoki though ? If so, you can bet sounds air will be waiting. Don't think you'll see them operating a large twin any time soon. That completely changes the dynamics of their operation, which, I think they need to do but doubt they would. Good luck seeing them in bed with golden bay...

    3. Glad to hear that HLZ-PMR-WLG has been getting good loadings. Used it a lot in Eagle days but haven't for a past few months to travel PMR - HLZ as we have large offices in both locations. If they dropped that route the only way to fly between the two cities would be via Christchurch!

    4. I've used HLZ-PMR-WLG once... quite a number of people travelling HLZ-WLG... $ 100 cheaper than the direct flight 15 minutes later... good for me thought, two flights and picked up a photo of a biz jet at PMR

  2. Jetstar are more likely to initially upgrade what they do now. Regional crew bases will be high on the list. Q400s will help too.... Watch this space.

    1. Napier basing is already in the works (publicly within the company). Q400s won't be happening anytime soon as QantasLink are still retiring Q300s. More Q300s are likely with one (SBJ) coming over in May 2017. Additional Q300s are extremely likely and a Christchurch or Nelson base is what seems likely (in addition to a Napier).

      Nelson / Napier / Palmy flights are all regularly full and I could see them adding an additional return flight in every day. Dropping a NPL return is possible but loadings are back up to steady numbers (they dropped after they started because Jetstar were cancelling too many NPL flights). WLG flights (currently three returns daily to Nelson) should have been cut to two six months ago. There isn't the passenger numbers to sustain this.

  3. I dont not agree with most of the statements made in the first comment. Some of them are very far fetched indeed. Tigerair in Napier??? Nonsense.... Air Chathams will not pick up Kiwis old routes. They were struggling to fill half a plane, and that does not equal a profit.

    WLG-IVC, AKL-PPQ will not be under review, maybe PPQ in the distant future, but certainly not WLG-IVC. It is a viable link that sees full flights. I fear Timaru is not doing so well compared to other ports. Being my closest airport, It is a sad reality when the doors close and you do a countup and there is 30-35 pax on board. Not the full flights you would hope for. Although the Timaru Council has signed off a plan for a brand new terminal. Looks very nice indeed, and they want Air NZ to commit for a period of time before the revamp is done. Will be interesting to hear results.

    I cannot see Air NZ pulling out of HKK, not this year anyway. Although stranger things have happened. If by some quirk they did, I do not think Sounds Air are the right operator for the job. Not with their present fleet. A Pilatus is just too small for the job, and the fares would be too high. West Coasters can be fairly price sensitive (even though it can be heckishly expensive to fly in/out of HKK at times!!) Im sure Sounds Air would be reluctant to upsize its planes as it would change the dynamics of its whole company, as mentioned above. Air Chathams would be ideal, with another Metro doing the run. But it is a wee ways away from there current network so they may not be interested, who can tell!....

    I believe also the JQ will have TRG next up on the list. They are not doing amazing on their existing routes though, and there rep does not help them. Air NZ are offering prices only slightly higher most of the time, have a better frequency and a better reputation. JQ will also be thinking very hard over Tauranga. I think Air NZ knows the city was next on JQs list. The increase of flights from/to Auckland is phenomenal! Also if JQ came to the party, Tauranga Airport seriously needs to expand/upgrade. 3 Q300 flights in the morning and the place is packed, not to mention that Koru Lounge (I wont go there!!) The TRG airport experience at certain times of the day is not a nice one.

    The aviation scene is certainly different to the one we experienced back several years ago. Back when you could fly to places like Masterton, Oamaru and Wanaka....

    Havnt heard anything from Air Safaris in a long time. I would certainly use the service, but i am just one person, takes a lot more to fill a Nomad or such plane....

    1. A level headed statement. I would suggest that sounds air would most likely take up the Timaru slot. I doubt you would see Air Safaris doing anything more than what they do best, - tourist flights. I agree sounds air are unlikely to upgrade to a larger aircraft but 9 seats is just not enough, particularly as skies and airports become more crowded (and lots of planes and crew become more expensive) high frequency becomes less practical eventually.

      JQ are doing quite well, better than they expected. TRG is very likely but so is Rotorua and most definitely more south island flying. Not sure about Q400s just yet. There are none spare and it goes completely against the low-cost model to have a mixed fleet. Sure, will happen, but perhaps not in the next few months ? Another Q300 is on the way at least...

    2. WLG-TIU in a PC1s??? An Air Chats Metro might be a better fit... or another Saab... the problem would be connecting the network with their Auckland maintenance base

    3. Sure Steve, why not. Same could have been said about Blenheim to Christchurch, there will alway be better aircraft but then again when its a 9 seater at least it will more often be full and keeping the service viable. Small but full planes are probably better than larger but half full planes !

    4. Using a 9 seater means the costs are spread over less people = higher ticket prices = people less likely to fly. With bigger planes it is more attractive to fly price wise therefore you're bound to get more pax

    5. I was more thinking of the range/performance for a PC12 on an airline sector of the length of WLG-TIU... Remember, I am an armchair enthusiast, not in the know on these matters

    6. It's actually a very good point you raise Steve!

  4. Lord only knows why sounds air haven't yet started a Greymouth wellington service with the pc12. More demand than westport (and thats doing well) and will slowly chip away at air nz out of hokitika (due many of their pax being from greymouth) therefore ready and waiting for Air NZ to pull out of Hokitika and lock up the west coast...

    1. The last thing Sounds Air want to do is annoy Air NZ like that. Air NZ could crush them if they wanted with price drops on WLG-BHE etc.

  5. 2017 is going to be the year where our 2nd and 3rd level regional carriers consolidate businesses after a volatile 2016.

    - Air NZ

    TIM is on the radar to go, especially when the next batch 4 of ATR72-600's arrives this year and Air Nelson starts reducing its older Q300's. HKK will stay, especially there has been an up surge of tourists on the West Coast last year. Can HKK airport take the ATR's?

    HLZ/PMR/WLG will stay. WRE will stay as long as the Q300's are operating. AKL/PPQ will stay and by upgraded to ATR later this year or early 2018.

    I am still of the opinion that Air NZ regional network will be 100% ATR operated by 2020 either a combination of ATR72/ATR42's or all ATR72's with the fleet split between Mt Cook and Air Nelson. This will stop or slow down any JQ ambitions to build a reasonable regional network.

    - Jetstar

    I am not sure about JQ operating AKL/TRG but they most likely do AKL/ROT/AKL to feed into QF/EY/JQ and possibility AA international services in/out of AKL.

    If JQ is bringing in 3 additional Q300's, then CHC/DUD, CHC/NSN and CHC/ZQN to connect with QF/EY/JQ international services in/out of CHC.

    - Soundsair

    They will stick to what they are doing. KKR/CHC will go once SH1 KKR/CHC is 24/7 operational.

    I don't see them flying WLG/GRE as GRE is not a sealed runway and anyway Air NZ is flying CHC/HKK.

    - Golden Bay Air and Stewart Island Flights

    They will stick to what they are doing.

    - Air Chathams

    They might look at doing AKL/MRO with a Metroliner but I think they will consolidate their business for this year anyway.

    They could extend their existing AKL/WAG to WLG to give the locals in WAG a air service to WEL, for SQ WLG/CBR/SIN service.

    - Air2there, Air Napier, Barrier Air and Sunair

    They will stick to what they are doing. They are not in any position to do much except to consolidate their businesses.

    - AirStark

    They are new to the game as a 3rd level regional carrier, so they may stick to what they are doing.

    - Orginair

    I am not sure what they are up to.

    They could team up with Air Chathams as a joint venture, giving Air Chathams a WLG/NSN and NSN/PMR route, that is if Air Chathams does do a AKL/WAG/WLG using the Saab.

    - Singapore Airlines

    I don't see them using Scoot SIN/CBR/WLG at this stage. They will still keep using the B772 for the time being despite their J Class loadings are light between WLG/CBR. They will replace the 772 with a B773 or a A350.

    - Air Safaris

    There is still talk about a TPO/CHC service since Tekapo is becoming a popular destination with Asia travellers.

    - Misc

    With regards to the Chinese Airlines, they haven't don't much about aligning them selves with a regional carrier except for Cathy Pacific and Air China co-sharing with Air NZ domestic (A320 services) and regional services.

    Air NZ had bought forward the opening of their new Wellington regional Koru lounge in response to the SQ flying in/out of WLG. The regional lounge was opened 30 Nov 16. Its is a nice lounge and very quiet. WLG domestic Koru lounge is being refurbished this year and so is AKL domestic Koru lounge.

    1. "I don't see them flying WLG/GRE as GRE is not a sealed runway and anyway Air NZ is flying CHC/HKK."

      Umm, Greymouth airport has a sealed runway, has an IFR approach and has lights. Had a 19 seater running out of it for over a year with flights often nearly / full when operating direct to wellington. 10 seaters for several years before that. Greymouth has a population over 3 times that of Hokitika and a significant portion of those passengers traveling out of Hokitika are in fact from Greymouth traveling to places like wellington and Auckland (CHCH is only a 2.5 hour drive).

  6. Jet Star down to 2 flights a day at New Plymouth? Hope the district council has a penalty clause as they are presently doing 3 and sold to the council 4 flights a day, which they have never done

    1. You can purchase $29 fares tomorrow on this route, doesn't look to be an good sign.

  7. This is what I think will happen in 2017

    Air NZ
    - will announce a ORD-AKL service to further strengthen their AKL hub. I think they will also announce another aussie destination either CBR or HBA. This will help feed their AKL hub to north america.
    - TIU will be cut from the network following NZ's push for an entire ATR fleet.

    - RAR will be replaced by NAN ex AKL. More ZQN services likely. CHC-ZQN will also make a comeback as AIR NZ are up to 3 times daily A320 now.
    - TRG-AKL is added mid year 3 times daily. Air NZ are now up to 8times daily on some days so I think that was a strategic decision to try and block Jetstar from entering the market. over 130,000 people now live here so I think it could be a fantastic route for Jetstar. They will not only provide good international connection but great connections to WLG, CHC, ZQN, NSN. Would put pressure on Air NZ's services to CHC and WLG to TRG.
    - I don't think Jetstar will add regional services to CHC in 2017 but will in 2018.

    Other services
    - I can see American airlines pulling out of AKL as their proposed joint venture with Qantas was rejected.
    - another 3 chinese airlines will start services ex AKL and 1 to CHC.
    - Singapore airlines WLG service will remain and will likely be expanded further.
    - QANTAS will announce PER-AKL year round.

  8. What a fascinating little debate to start off the New Year

    1. My oh my, it certainly has Steve! Wonder if the airline/operator guru's themselves are watching and chuckling away at some of the somewhat left field ideas!

    2. We do, but it is entertaining at least.

  9. Origin Air I think they will close down, they not seem to get there act together and not able to get their Jetstreams flying.
    Sounds Air will take over the NSN-PMR route and offer a decent twice daily return schedule they will have to get another PC12.
    They may start a CHC to WKA route as well they have plenty of new markets to chase including Greymouth.
    Air Safaris do the odd charter flights to Christchurch but will consider a schedule via Mount Cook will enable tourists to access the region better.
    Don't see Masterton or Oamaru getting flights again I think the ship has sailed on that one.
    Air Milford after starting TEU will serve Milford from Queenstown as well.
    Jetstar will start TRG and ROT the latter was previously served by Qantas. Then more expansion in 2018 with a CHC base opening. This will see them do CHC-DUD, IVC, PMR, HLZ and NSN. Plus connect HLZ to WLG

    1. It all comes down to dollars and cents. The benefit the smaller operators have such as Sounds Air is independence. If they decide to trial a route and it doesn't work out then its not difficult to extract themselves. So we may well see them trial a few places to get a taste for it. I take it the Hawkes Bay-Marlborough flights are working out as they still seem to be operating.
      Jetstar must certainly have Tauranga on their radar. But as someone mentioned their loads to other Q300's ports haven't been performing very well and obviously the travelling public - while lambasting Air New Zealand's fares - have decided to shy away from the often disrupted Propstar operation and either drive or by a more expensive airfare.
      The Rotorua market must be limited in its size even with the tourism rush. I suspect a number of Chinese tourist groups are being transported by road to/from Rotorua and catching jets ex Auckland to the South Island.
      No doubt there will be a strategist somewhere in JQ HQ over in the land of Oz crunching the numbers to see what's what. Who is running JQ NZ these days since Grant Kerr left several months ago (and is now with the Nelson Chamber of Commerce). I think he had a big part in the Propstar creation as a means of reltaliation for his unceremonious exit from Air New Zealand so his personal agenda was able to be worked out through its birth. Perhaps the current JQ NZ boss is happy with the status quo...

      Steve - keep up the fantastic work. Your large audience sincerely appreciates all that you do especially given you already hectic day job.

    2. Where does this propstar not doing so well thing come from ? being unable to get seats at all on some routes during some days is not too bad. We have to remember, they are new. It is always going to take time to establish themselves but that said that is known and they are doing far greater than their own expectations so that surely is a positive indication. JQ NZ have significant plans of expansion in NZ, though over time as the brand builds in NZ. I think the status quo has yet to be achieved, not at least until all the major towns / cities are served.

  10. PMR-HLZ used to run 3 B1900s weekdays, so there is the traffic to support it - and it's been running for 30 odd years so one assumes it is commercially viable. I always viewed PMR-WLG as there for connections as without it you lose PMR-NSN and PMR-BHE the former of which was significant enough for NZ to try directly before the GFC. If PMR-WLG really isn't working, then perhaps HLZ-PMR-NSN would be better use of the aircraft.

    1. HLZ-PMR and PMR-WLG; The routes are marketed as the same flight number and are also offered as a choice for passengers travelling between HLZ and WLG.
      Loadings were excellent in the final months of the year, many times completely chocka. Roughly 15 or so stay onboard for the quick transit in PMR with the rest getting on and off in PMR. It is these transit passengers that make two routes which would be unviable on their own a success.

      Fellow passengers adore the service and the sole cabin attendants also seem very cherry. The prices on these routes have lowered and the overall experience on the routes is much much nicer.

  11. That was the same frequency between BHE to CHC 3 Beech flights per day but it still got cut completely. Same with AKL-WAG and AKL-WHK. So one thing is for sure there is no guarantee a route won't get cut just because it has lots of flights currently.

  12. My Predictions:

    -Air NZ
    Drops Timaru, overnights a Q300 in Taupo. Hokitika sees a reduced timetable.

    Who cares what they do, Air NZ will always be superior in their own market.

    -Air Chatams
    Consolidating their network then add another Metro and add Masterton-Auckland to the network.

    -Barrier Air
    I seriously hope they paint their fleet the same, honestly. Apart from that, another caravan to ease the load on SDB maybe, I say maybe stronlgy, try an Auckland to Waiheke service with the massive strain on ferries with people being left behind as a result. Short, privately owned grass runway but I'm sure they could figure something out.

    -Sounds Air
    Will look at purchasing Golden Bay Air or forming some agreement with them. Another PC12 will be introduced for a NSN to PMR to WLG route to compete the failing Originair.

    They'll fail again and this time won't get back up.

    -Everyone else
    Normal business, nothing new or special

    Taupo will get a much needed upgrade (or at least it will be announced). Larger terminal and a baggage collection area. Terminal usually crowded and they have had a temporary baggage collection thing made of scaffolding and plastic wrap there for a while now.

    AKL will work hard at fixing delay issues faced during the holiday period. They will work closely with Auckland Transport to solve such issues.

    Also, just because I love speculation, wouldn't it be cool if Air NZ started a 787 CHC-LAX or 777 AKL-DXB service (not that either will happen)

  13. Taupo is doing fabulously. Air NZ's revised schedule sees 3 return flights on Mondays and Fridays. The additional flight being just after lunch. This allows for enhanced connection opportunities for customers on the late arvo long haul routes in addition to tasman and domestic connections.

    As a regular Taupo local, Ive noticed fares have been slashed since the Q300 has taken over and the locals are LOVING it. Flights are more often than not chocka.

    1. What Air NZ need to do is add a flight that arrives at like 7 or 8pm then departs the next morning at like 7am

    2. There is insufficient demand currently to allow both the early evening return AKL-TUO-AKL flights that operate now plus an additional AKL-TUO overnight. That would be 100 seats to TUO in the space of a couple hours.
      It is this phenomenon that has resulted in TIU having an overnight and no flights leaving after lunch time.

    3. Absolutely true as said above, also there is currently no available Q300 aircraft to overnight in TUO even if there was demand.

  14. I think TRG would surely be on the radar for Jetstar. Both TRG and ROT hare expanding their terminals in 2017 so is that a sign that Jetstar is going to land here next?

    There has also been rumours about another north american destination for Air NZ. So will be interesting what 2017 brings.

    1. Chicago ORD) has been mooted for a while. If Chicago is next Northern American destination, I suspect it will be operated by one of the last 3 789's, as these aircraft will have the update Premium and Business Premier cabin product.

  15. My Thoughts:

    HKK will be retained by Air New Zealand. There was comments above saying that HKK will loose services. I do not believe this will happen. HKK only receives two services weekdaily currently. The link would not work with only one flight a day. Its sort of a two or nothing deal. HKK has a catchment area that includes the isolated area towards the glaciers and then Greymouth to the north. I believe HKK is worth retaining for Air NZ. Loadings have been alright. TUO will stay, the airline are adding more services, and loadings are good. Air Chathams Whanganui and Whakatane services will stay the same, although i would love to see a WHK-WLG service one day ;)

    I do worry for Timaru however. The schedule is not very good, and loadings are not great. It is my local airport, being only 90mins from home in the Mackenzie. I love the fact that it takes around 3hrs from home to Wellington. Free parking (not for long though) and lovely staff. As a regular user of TIU, somewhat selfishly i have to say, Air NZ pulling out maybe a good thing, provided a operator like Air Chathams came in. That way we may get a schedule that gives us 3 flights a day. Back with Eagle i could leave home super early and make the 7amish flight out, and then catch the 2pm flight back to Timaru after doing my work for the day, and be back home in the Mackenzie for dinner. Currently the flights arrive back in Timaru at 11.30am or something, or 8.30pm. Far to early, and far too late. A lot of people i know drive the 3hrs to Christchurch and fly from there. But i love the convenience of flying from Timaru. I am certainly happy paying a little more for that privilege.

    Watch this space i guess....

    1. The schedule just cannot be any different to what it is now.
      Unless they take the plunge and trial a late afternoon / evening WLG-TIU-WLG adding another 50 seats each way to the already 100 seats each way offered on weekdays. In the hope this could entice new people to fly and some traffic from CHC.

      That would be 100 seats to Timaru in the space of a few hours... hard going to fill all that.

    2. Yes you are exactly right. TIU is struggling with 100 seats already! If we could go back to smaller planes with maybe 3 services a day that would be primo. However I am the minority, people just don't want to pay more for the convenience small aircraft bring

  16. Interesting - I wouldn't be surprised to see Timaru dropped. It is back to the 2 Friendship type schedule it had years agao. Has there been any more talk about Air Safaris doing a MacKenzie-Chch service?

  17. Yeah Hi Steve, there was good rumor on that one, especially with the purchase of the Caravan. Tekapo to Christchurch would have been the ticket. But no more news on this one yet. I would have loved a Twizel service, and would certainly pay more for it. But in talking with other locals, I am the minority. People love the cheap fares they can get in Christchurch. But they fail to realize the extra costs. It costs me around $55 one way to drive to Christchurch ($110 return), then if I went away for 4 days, around $70 bucks in parking. That means around $180 bucks and 7 hours of travel to an from Christchurch. That's $180 I would pay to fly out of Tekapo or Pukaki, and plus a bit more for the convenience and time saving. Not everyone sees it the same way. Timaru will do for now, but if Air Safaris started a service, I would certainly well patronise it

  18. How is everyones predictions going?

    So far in 2017 we have had some interesting developments..

    • AIR NZ announced HND 3x weekly
    • United have dropped down to seasonal but will boost to 10x ex SFO
    • ADL has been upgraded to a 787
    • No move by Jetstar regional, although they have shifted their timetable around and apparently SBJ is crossing the ditch so other Q300's can go into Maintenance
    • More Chinese airlines continue to swoop in
    • Cathay announced a seasonal CHC service 3x weekly
    • AIR has not cut any regional routes so far

  19. I can see nelson eventually becoming jet capable, not for transtasman ops but domestic ones, they have passed 1 million passengers a year, maybe they could trial a Christchurch-nelson -Auckland return a couple of times a day to start, whats the minimum runway length for a domestic a320?, I remember seeing a 737 there for the nelson airshow in 92

  20. Also, Sounds said they were interested in a larger aircraft (Q300/S340/ATR) for CHC-BHE