19 September 2020

Hamilton-Palmerston North-Wellington Service Officially Cut


Air New Zealand resumed services to all 20 of our ports on our domestic network in June, however we have not resumed services on our Hamilton-Palmerston North-Wellington route due to insufficient demand for our 50-seater Q300 aircraft. 

We have now made the decision not to resume services on this route. Due to the constantly changing environment, the airline is currently making domestic schedule adjustments each month to better align with demand. There are a small number of customers who had booked tickets on this route from mid-February and they will be accommodated via other routes or can hold tickets as a credit. 

Source : Air New Zealand Wing Tips, Issue 5004

The news above will be a major disappointment for the many people who use, in particular, the Hamilton-Palmerston North service which always has many business passengers, often doing a same day return. Originair have announced they are starting a daily return service but the timetable is woefully inadequate for business passengers. The Hamilton-Palmerston North sector, at peak business time, certainly needs something larger than a Jetstream.

The Palmerston North to Wellington sector is probably more problematic as, like the Auckland-Hamilton sector, the centres are too close together. Sounds Air tried Whanganui-Wellington and that didn't work. I suspect most of the passengers on this sector were transhipping at Wellington to other Air New Zealand services which they will still be able to do at Christchurch. However it does mean the loss of an Air NZ connection to Blenheim and Nelson. In Nelson's case Originair already operate, albeit with an inadequate timetable. Perhaps there might be enough passengers for a Blenheim-Palmerston North service for Sounds Air to try similar to their Blenheim-Paraparaumu service. Time will tell.

In the meantime I need an afternoon flight from Palmerston North to Hamilton on the 30th of October. Looks like I will either have to get a flight to Auckland and get a shuttle to Hamilton or get a shuttle to Wellington to be able to fly home.

The only way from Hamilton to Palmerston North on Monday... via Christchurch!


  1. With NZ now officially abandoning the route, will that encourage Origin to use some of its recently acquired J32 capacity to offer a more frequent business friendly schedule? Business travelers of course are generally prepared to pay higher fares than leisure travelers, so I would thought it was worth a shot.

    Or maybe Air Chathams have designs on the route using some of that freshly repainted Metro capacity?

    I don't think Soundsair currently have the right aircraft available to deliver what the market requires.

  2. Insufficient demand for a Q300. Bull... 12 times this year alone flying PMR-WLG. Flight always departed PMR full. Yes most no doubt transfering onwards, but it was a super handy connection. The last PMR-CHC flight didnt leave late enough for me, where flying via WLG was just that little bit later meaning I didn't have to overnight in PMR. Absolutely gutted.

    That Originair schedule between HLZ-PMR is crap for business travelers. What a shame, but no the first time Covid has ruined something good haha

  3. Dammmm that's such a real shame 😔 😞

  4. The biggest headache is that most larger companies won't book on smaller airlines unless specifically requested (as their travel agents will have an arrangement with Air NZ). It's a big issue for us as we have out head office in Palmy, which until this year was easy to access from most of the country. Asking Hamilton people to transship via Christchurch, or drive instead (with requirements for 2 days accommodation that we didn't have to pay for before, plus extra lost working hours) is a real disappointment.

  5. I think its more of an issue that most travel agents book through a international system. Sorry I can't remember the name. If the smaller airlines aren't registered on the system then the smaller airline won't get the business unless specifically requested. I remember Air Chathams made a big thing when they went on the system.