05 March 2011

Six Month Wanaka Flight Trial Ends Soon

Flight commitments to Wanaka Airport are being reviewed by Air New Zealand subsidiary carrier Eagle Air in the wake of a council plan change submission process. Eagle Air chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui said the national air carrier was reviewing a six-month trial which brought an increase in flights to Wanaka Airport from September last year. The increase in flights from the only carrier operating between Christchurch and Wanaka was in response to repeated calls from Wanaka's business and tourism leaders. Performance during the increased Wanaka flight-scheduling trial period was also being assessed as part of a "bigger picture" regarding proposed investments in infrastructure facilities at the airport, Ms Hurihanganui said. The ratepayer-owned asset is the subject of the Queenstown Lakes District Council's plan change 26, Wanaka Airport, which proposes to institute statutory measures to accommodate projected growth at the airport. However, the plan change has drawn criticism from Air New Zealand, which wanted exclusive consultation rights as the country's dominant airline. A submission from Air New Zealand cited concerns about a perceived lack of "cohesive" planning on the part of the Queenstown Lakes District Council, which owns the airports at Wanaka and Queenstown. The concerns extend to how "appropriate growth" is being planned "independently" for the respective airports rather than in a district-wide way, Ms Hurihanganui said. "Our concerns come about when there hasn't been the necessary level of engagement as we would have liked," she said. Ms Hurihanganui is to meet representatives from the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce and Lake Wanaka Tourism on March 10 to discuss the Eagle Air review.

Source : http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/central-otago/148816/eagle-air-review-schedule 23 Feb 2011

Given the new Air Nelson Q300 flights to Hokitika are timed to enable the current schedule to Wanaka it looks like the extended service may continue

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