09 November 2021

A trip I would love to do...


This on Stuff today... and this is certainly a trip I would love to do...

Air Milford to trial scenic flights out of Invercargill

Air Milford plans to trial three scenic flights out of Invercargill, with the hope of a permanent service in 2022. The trial day is on December 11, when a 13-seater Cessna Caravan will leave Invercargill at 8am, noon and 3pm on two-and-a-half-hour trips over the western Southland coastline and Fiordland. Air Milford’s chief pilot Antony Sproull said the scenic flights were a new way for the company to attract passengers with the New Zealand border closed to overseas travellers. “Pre-Covid last year, we were 95 per cent international tourists,” Sproull said. Air Milford’s domestic traveller market had picked up with Auckland customers until the lockdown in August. “It’s really challenging times right now. It’s the hardest we’ve had in 20 years of business, we’ve got to be creative now.” Invercargill Airport suggested the possibility of scenic flights to Air Milford last year. Air Milford re-opened the idea after the lockdown in August with the support of the Fiordland Business Association. For Air Milford to seriously consider having the flights as a permanent part of air travel out of Invercargill, it would need each of the three flights on the trial day to have all 13 passenger seats filled, Sproull said. Air Milford will donate the fare for the 13th seat on each flight to the Southland Charity Hospital. If the scenic flights were introduced permanently at Invercargill Airport, it would provide another sightseeing service to people visiting the south, Sproull said. Invercargill Airport chief executive Nigel Finnerty said if the scenic flights became permanent it would bring a new opportunity to Southland. “It’s a real chance for people to see parts of New Zealand that most people never see. “There wouldn’t be many people in NZ or tourists that have seen Puysegur Point or Preservation Inlet.” If it became a permanent service it would give visitors to Southland another opportunity to do something different, Finnerty said. Great South tourism and events general manager Bobbi Brown said the scenic flights would allow people to see “special and unique” areas of Southland. “Particularly Fiordland, it’s absolutely spectacular. I see this as really encouraging that this is a [new] product and an experience, which is using Invercargill as the gateway to access the rest of Murihiku. And it’s not at the detriment of the northern or eastern gateways, which are Queenstown and Dunedin.” Landmarks on the flight path will include Te Waewae Bay, the Humpridge Track, Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound, hydroelectric sites at Deep Cove and West Arm, Puysegur Point and Preservation Inlet. A 45-minute stopover at the Manapouri Airport is included in the trips. If bad weather forces a postponement, reserve days will be on December 12, 18 and 19.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinations/nz/southland/126932219/air-milford-to-trial-scenic-flights-out-of-invercargill

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