18 November 2020

A couple of other mainland routes



On Stuff the other day there was an interesting piece on Air Chathams... 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/123405384/come-fly-with-me-a-look-at-new-zealands-smaller-airlines-air-chathams

But this section here was what interested me...

What are your future plans?

We’ll continue to operate our mainland and Chatham Islands routes, using the aircraft type that suits. We’re also looking at adding a couple of other mainland routes to connect more of regional New Zealand with Auckland.

So which two ports do you think??? I'd guess Masterton as one, but the other??? That's really got me scratching my head.


37 comments:

  1. Yes Steve its a good read. Masterton I agree. I wonder what other town will be large enough to support an AKL service. Perhaps Wanaka with 13,000 and growing fast might be a contender. I can't think of another North Island town big enough left unserved.
    They could even open up a Kapiti Coast to CHC service which might do well for them. They did mention it a few years ago.

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  2. WKA already has a airlink with Sounds Air. WHK-WLG and PPQ-CHC, or even WAG-CHC? Will be interesting to see what eventuates

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    1. They could still support a direct AKL flight alongside the Sounds Air service.

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    2. Not in a turboprop

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    3. Would certainly have to be a turboprop. Air Chathams does not own any jets. Plus Wanaka airport can't take anything bigger than a Dash as the pavement is not strong enough. Also the runway is too short.

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    4. No one will book tickets on a turboprop to fly WKA-AKL. Airline passengers in NZ are fickle creatures. No passenger appeal

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    5. Well it works ok for other routes in a turboprop. Just look at CHT-AKl a two hour flight mostly over water with no real issues.

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    6. Wellington to Christchurch has a a good handful of turboprops (ATR)
      Dunedin to Wellington ATR and not to long ago the Q300
      Christchurch to Tauranga and Rotorua on a Q300
      Invercargill on a Q300
      Nelson and Blenheim to Auckland flies over a good stretch of water.
      Some very long flights but absolutely no problems at all for the past 20 years of long distance turboprop flights in NZ

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    7. Yeah and all flights you have listed are -2hrs, most less than 1.5hrs. AKL-WKA would be +2.5hrs. You will never ever see AKL-WKA flights in a turboprop. ZQN is just over the hill with several flights to AKL with Airbus Jets across 2 different airlines. No one will pay more to fly a turboprop once daily when they can get cheap fares out of ZQN and select a flight at a time that suits them. AKL-WKA turboprop flights will NEVER happen.

      AKL-CHT is a different ball game. We are talking about a remote island where turboprop aircraft are the only logical way to currently get there. And people pay more for it. The Islanders are dead set keen for the introduction of Jet operations

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    8. Still no gaurantee that it will Never happen though. You can't use the argument its too far in a turboprop at 2 hours+. Just your opinion even CHC has flights to both ZQN and WKA they are seperate marktes now. During winter the road is often closed between the two towns. If they use a Saab with a toilet on board and service it would work just fine.

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    9. Nope, still never happen. Yes the Crown Range is often closed in winter, but the alternative route through the Kawarau is hardly ever closed. If you think that passengers will pay more to fly on a slow turboprop you may need to rethink. Kiwis are price sensitive. It's been demonstrated many many times. Go back even in this blog and you will find many examples of this. It is very simple economics. A turboprop costs more to operate per seat than a A320 Per seat. $200 to fly direct on a 2hr45min flight to AKL, or a $55 fare on a 1hr55min Jet? Kiwis will opt for the latter everytime. And this is the exact reason why we no longer have services to places like Oamaru...

      The Christchurch argument is completely different. As a WKA resident myself, there is a lot of business travel between the two centers, and the timetable Soundsair is offering is very smart and is conducive to a days business in the Garden City. And it's only a 50min flight. Different ball game, and not one you can compare between flights to AKL.

      Another consideration is the QAC hesitation for scheduled flights at WKA. Sounds have had their eyes on WKA for a while, and have only just been able to push it across the line. QAC are mongrels, and seem to kill any idea that threatens the shining jewel in the crown that is ZQN

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    10. You never going to get a jet in Wanaka either. Its only going to get props...

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    11. +1 I have to agree. You won't see any scheduled turboprop flights between Auckland and Wanaka ever. However they were pushing for direct jet flights in years to come. This would take significant investment of Wanaka Airport, and a lot of public convincing. I believe the locals aren't overly impressed with the thought of Jets flying over the town.

      I'm sure all us AV Geeks would love a Turboprop NZAA-NZWF flight, I mean anyone passionate about aviation would right! But its just not practical and will never be a flyer with the general flying public

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    12. One thing is you can never say never in the aviation world.

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    13. On this one, I have to disagree, and agree with the above comments. Wanaka will never see a turboprop airlink direct to Auckland. It does not make economic sense, business 101. We may in the future see A320 flights into Wanaka, but that will be a while haha

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  3. Hamilton to Auckland

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    1. Without a interline agreement, HLZ-AKL will never work

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  4. Wonder how many routes Air NZ has that may get the cut with the current economic situation... But once they dip into that government loan..!!
    Definitely feel that Whakatane-Wellington would work along Masterton-Auckland. Possible PPQ-CHC (Loads with the Q300 weren't completely full but my understanding/read was that they weren't exactly light either...) So I am wondering if it was more of a fleet utilization and lack of capacity which led to Air NZ pulling out of that route. Could they work a Whanganui to Wellington?? Air Nelson-Eagle air-Sounds Air failed but could Air Chatham's find the golden bullet and make it work.

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    1. Perhaps Air Chathams knows something and has got a heads up from Air NZ. So might be Taupo next on the chopping block and taken over by Chats.

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    2. Let's just say that Air Chats new about PPQ quite a while before Air NZ actually dropped it. Word was going around the hanger as early as Feb. So very possible that Air NZ could drop another route. TUO would be a excellent fit for Air Chats. Will be very interesting to see.... :-D

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    3. Air New Zealand dropping Taupo would never happen, the council for one wouldn't let that happen being Taupo is quite a significant tourist drawcard along with many Aucklanders now moving to Taupo. Pre-covid it was an essential link to the rest of the world through Air NZ and *alliance as well as. In the short space of time, Air Nelson/Q300 took over from Eagle Air 1900s' it has grown significantly to where Air NZ had three flights a day with a 50 seater aircraft compared to the 19 seat Beech. Air NZ is proving to be very popular with more cheap seats on offer..
      It would be nice to see Air Chats here, Air NZ will be keeping Taupo for the mid to long term.
      Timaru and the likes would be more on the chopping block, so to speak than Taupo.
      Here is my list of potential candidate's for the chop pending on Air NZ touching the loan grant as well as potential new routes

      Te Anau-AKL. Once tourism opens, Air Chats
      Timaru-WEL. Great addition for Sounds Air
      Oamaru-WEL. Could Sounds Air connect a flight to Wellington
      Mount Cook region-WEL/AKL. Another forgotten but growing area that hasn't seen a operator since essentially Mount Cook was brought out and Air NZ stopped flying there. Sounds Air would be a contender with Air Chats to Auckland
      Hokitika-CHC/WEL. Sounds Air
      Kaikoura-WEL/CHC. Golden Bay air
      Masterton-AKL. Air Chats. Long shot CHC
      Gisborne-WEL-AKL. Air Chats
      Whakatane-WEL. Air Chats
      Whanganui-WEL. Air Chats
      Hastings-WEL/AKC. Sounds air... That could slip under the radar!!! Scope that southern population catchment
      Kapiti-CHC Origin/Air Chats
      Hamilton-Tauranga-NEL-NPL Origin.

      Air Chats would definitely be going for the high toruist/main connections with Auckland/Christchurch being that it has the twin turboprop fleet and having it's base in Auckland.
      Sounds Air I would see, only picking up/trialing the thinner routes predominantly in the South Island that would connect with Wellington.
      Origin would be the next Kiwi and connect up those bigger centers that are not connected through a main center

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    4. Air New Zealand dropping Taupo would never happen, the council for one wouldn't let that happen being Taupo is quite a significant tourist drawcard along with many Aucklanders now moving to Taupo. Pre-covid it was an essential link to the rest of the world through Air NZ and *alliance as well as. In the short space of time, Air Nelson/Q300 took over from Eagle Air 1900s' it has grown significantly to where Air NZ had three flights a day with a 50 seater aircraft compared to the 19 seat Beech. Air NZ is proving to be very popular with more cheap seats on offer..
      It would be nice to see Air Chats here, Air NZ will be keeping Taupo for the mid to long term.
      Timaru and the likes would be more on the chopping block, so to speak than Taupo.
      Here is my list of potential candidate's for the chop pending on Air NZ touching the loan grant as well as potential new routes

      Te Anau-AKL. Once tourism opens, Air Chats
      Timaru-WEL. Great addition for Sounds Air
      Oamaru-WEL. Could Sounds Air connect a flight to Wellington
      Mount Cook region-WEL/AKL. Another forgotten but growing area that hasn't seen a operator since essentially Mount Cook was brought out and Air NZ stopped flying there. Sounds Air would be a contender with Air Chats to Auckland
      Hokitika-CHC/WEL. Sounds Air
      Kaikoura-WEL/CHC. Golden Bay air
      Masterton-AKL. Air Chats. Long shot CHC
      Gisborne-WEL-AKL. Air Chats
      Whakatane-WEL. Air Chats
      Whanganui-WEL. Air Chats
      Hastings-WEL/AKC. Sounds air... That could slip under the radar!!! Scope that southern population catchment
      Kapiti-CHC Origin/Air Chats
      Hamilton-Tauranga-NEL-NPL Origin.

      Air Chats would definitely be going for the high toruist/main connections with Auckland/Christchurch being that it has the twin turboprop fleet and having it's base in Auckland.
      Sounds Air I would see, only picking up/trialing the thinner routes predominantly in the South Island that would connect with Wellington.
      Origin would be the next Kiwi and connect up those bigger centers that are not connected through a main center

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    5. Air Kaikoura already serve Kaikoura to Welly. Perhaps they could try CHC next.

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  5. As a route out of left field what about Te Anau to Auckland. I am thinking using a combi aircraft though. Its been reported that Te Anau would like scheduled services again but not sure what passenger demand would be.

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    1. It might work at say 3 flights per week. Cargo might help with revenue too.

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    2. Te Anau might be too small only has 2000 residents.

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    3. Te Anau is very possible as Air Chathams has been there on many occasions.
      http://teanauairport.co.nz/gallery/
      Just look at the airport website shows the Saab and Convair on the ramp.
      If AKL to TEU is fine in the comments here why not Wanaka which is a larger town and closer it doesn't make sense.

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    4. TEU to AKL will never happen. As a local of 40 years, there is no appetite for it. We want a Christchurch link, not Auckland. Just once or twice a week would be nice. A survey was commissioned a few years back, and a link to Christchurch was a hot topic, but no one was interested in a Auckland link. Queenstown and Invercargill both have A320 flights to Auckland and have really good fares. It's only a 90min drive for us to either airport.

      We would love Sounds Air to come a serve our little airport. But with only 2500ish residents in the basin, I'm not holding my breath.

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    5. I think that what Jarden referring to regarding photos on the website and possibly has forgotten. Te Anau would have worked very well and would have been on the sights for Air Chats, pre covid.
      I feel that it would have worked quite well. The amount of tourist that wanted to travel there to do the walks etc. I feel that it would have worked quite well, especially amongst the higher end tourism. Once the borders open up and we are back to that level....
      Also too
      Some of those photos may have been when Air Chats was operating flights for TUCK tours.

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    6. Only problem is Sounds Air 9 seater is very limited so the high costs of running a airline makes the seat cost very expensive. A Saab sized aircraft would have been better for Wanaka so to be able to offer lower lead in fares.
      Even for Te Anau to CHC would be better in a Saab over the tiny PC12!

      The Tauck tours was once served with a 90 seat Bae 146 jet to TEU from CHC so must have had huge demand once! The airline was Vincent Aviation back then.

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    7. So a local of 40 years who is heavily involved in the airport has no idea.... alright then....

      Auckland to Te Anau direct flights will not happen, and are not wanted by the locals. As I said above, flights to Christchurch are desired.

      Photos on the Manapouri Airport website are indeed of the weekly Tauck Tours, and also charter work for Fiordland Lobster.

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    8. Wow that came off abrasive sorry! ^ makes me sound horrible! My apologies. All I was meaning was that after a lot of surveys in the district, flights to AKL aren't really desired. If we had a Airline say Air Chats for example come to town and say we want to provide you with a Air service a couple of days a week, which destination do you want us to fly too. Surveys and public opinion favour CHC. Both Invercargill and Queenstown both have A320 flights to Auckland often with really reasonable fares. Both airports are only 90mins away. Fares are often pretty good too. Say if a Saab 340 was to do a AKL-TEU flight, the price of that is spread across 34 seats, whereas a AKL-ZQN flight is spread across 171(?) Seats. Simple economics mean the smaller Turboprop flights between AKL-TEU will always be more expensive. And people will do what they have done for years, and drive to ZQN, IVC or DUD to take advantage of the cheaper fares that Jet Ops offer. However a CHC flight would be ideal, and would offer connectivity through Christchurch to absolutely anywhere really (change of airline naturally, but that's not uncommon now) Air Chats and Sounds Air have done really well, even without a interline agreement. Lots of passengers originating in places like WHK, WAG, PPQ, CHT, WSZ, TUO often continue onto other places.

      Yes lots of tourists come to Fiordland, but most of them want to see Queenstown as well as Fiordland, so it makes sense for them to start or finish their trip in Queenstown. A lot of tourists really want to get out on the road, and see the amazing vistas from the ground up. The ZQN-TEU drive is popular with Tourists.

      Air Milford tried a ZQN-TEU-ZQN scheduled service a few years back. But only did a couple of flights. The schedule and pricing was prohibitive, and also locals wont pay to fly to ZQN, when they can drive.

      I cant see Air Chats offering scheduled flights to Te Anau. If we did get a Christchurch link, I think Sounds Air could do a primo job at it with the PC12.

      For Air Chats I can see a Auckland to Masterton airlink for sure. The Wairarapa would have had a airlink years ago if they hadn't of chosen Vincent's over Air Chats. I can also see a direct Whakatane to Wellington service. Would love to see Kapiti to Christchurch reinstated. Even with a bad schedule, Air NZ still managed alright loadings. I would love to see down the track a interline agreement between Air NZ and Air Chathams.

      Looking forward to the Runway upgrade at the Chats to be done, so we can see Jet Ops out there. Will be sad to see the Convair go though. Many awesome trips out there, including direct from TEU as a Charter with Merv Halliday. I guess the other question will be, will Air Chats operate the ATR to NLK once the Convairs disappear...

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    9. When Vincent's flew the BAe 146 for Tauck Tours it brought passengers down from BHE-TEU before returning empty to usually ZQN for the night. Exclusively for Tauck Tour customers only. No one from the public was aloud to book on. Alliance also operated the services using a F50.

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    10. Fully understand re no chance for AKl to TEU flight. Perhaps someone should start a petition going and give it to Sounds Air. So they can start flying from CHC. Or would there aircraft be too small?

      Interesting what would be the second airport AIR CHATS will serve from AKL other than Masterton there is no real big town left without a service to AKL in the North Island.

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  6. Wonder if Tokoroa could work?

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    1. Doubt it. Many have tried and failed. Not a heap of money floating around Tokoroa. ROT, TUO and HLZ are on 50-60mins away.

      I can definitely see a AKL-MRO airlink, along with WHK-WLG flights. This airline is certainly one to watch. They are awesome!

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  7. Unless it is Sounds Air with it's Caravan or PC12 or Great Barrier due to the length or the runway.
    With the Tokoroa catchment including Tirau and Putaruru almost 20,000, who knows... It could work, but being close to Taupo and Rotorua could be Tokoroa's downfall.

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