01 September 2010

More Flights to the Regions


Travellers between Tauranga and Christchurch, and between Invercargill and Wellington, are the big winners in Air New Zealand's latest boost to domestic capacity. The airline today said more than 9500 additional seats per week were being added across its regional network and main jet routes, as signs appeared of an anticipated recovery in demand for domestic travel. New flight schedules were on sale from today and were for travel from early February. Flights between Christchurch and Tauranga were increasing from five to 11 return services a week. Group general manager Australasia Bruce Parton said the extra flights at peak times were a response to customer feedback, and would provide for same-day travel by business travellers. Capacity between Invercargill and Wellington was up 63 percent, with direct flights between the two centres rising from once a day to double daily on weekdays. The additional services meant Air New Zealand was reducing journey time by at least 45 minutes each way, as passengers would not need to transit in Christchurch, Mr Parton said. A Sunday service was also being added to the New Plymouth to Christchurch routes, while use of a larger aircraft meant capacity increases on services between Palmerston North and Auckland, Napier and Auckland, and Palmerston North and Christchurch. Changes were also being made to services between Queenstown and Christchurch, with flight times being adjusted to enable additional connections with trans-Tasman services out of Christchurch, Air New Zealand said. The increases come on top of announcements in the past few weeks of an additional 8 percent capacity increase for Palmerston North, 5 percent for New Plymouth and 40 percent increase in flights for Wanaka. Last week Air New Zealand announced it would be increasing domestic jet capacity by 8 percent progressively from September. Among the increases Auckland-Wellington capacity would go up by 9 percent and Auckland-Christchurch by 10.4 percent. Further capacity would also be available with the arrival of the first new A320 aircraft from February next year and would see direct Dunedin-Auckland services increase by 46 percent from 13 to 19 per week, and Auckland-Queenstown capacity rise by 13.6 percent, the airline said.

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