12 April 2012

Masterton Timetable Change

A change to the timetable of direct flights between Masterton and Auckland has left at least one regular traveller stranded. Nicola Jefferies, of Masterton, who makes the daily return trip regularly, said the change meant it was no longer possible to fly up and back on the same day - which will frustrate many business people. "It's a real shame. It's so convenient being able to come back the same day, rather than having to stay overnight in Auckland or drive to Wellington at 4am to catch an early flight. The morning flights from Masterton to Auckland were always full, Mrs Jefferies said, and by changing their service, Eagle Air, which operates the route on behalf of Air New Zealand, stood to lose business.  There had been no warning about the timetable change from either airline, she said. Under the changes, the morning flight leaving Masterton at 7am will switch to a 12.15pm departure. The only return flight from Auckland leaves at 10.40am. Eagle Air general manager Carrie Hurihanganui said the changes were due to maintenance requirements for an Eagle Air aircraft that serviced the route, and was scheduled to last for six weeks, from May 6 to June 18. "The small number of passengers affected by the change will be re-accommodated onto other services and Eagle Air apologises for any inconvenience caused." Ms Hurihanganui said Eagle Air was using the opportunity to trial flights that better suit the leisure traveller and offer the chance for Aucklanders to spend a weekend in Wairarapa with a new fly-in Friday, fly-out Sunday option. "We have therefore taken this opportunity to trial services to gauge leisure passenger demand including introducing a Friday night flight landing in Masterton at 7.40pm, with a Sunday afternoon flight departing Masterton at 3.15pm." Masterton Mayor Garry Daniell said he understood every effort was being made to keep disruption to a minimum while essential maintenance was carried out. "The proposed new timetable will, however, give us the opportunity to trial mid-morning weekday flights and a convenient weekend service, which we have been advocating with Eagle Air for some time. "This may open up our region to new groups of visitors in the future and if these new times prove popular, there may be opportunities to develop the service to cater better for both leisure and business travellers." Destination Wairarapa general manager David Hancock said the new trial weekend flights were a fantastic opportunity for the region.


Meanwhile in April 2009...

Air NZ changes Oamaru Fights
Air New Zealand is re-jigging its services between Oamaru and Christchurch, scrapping weekend flights and leaving just 20 minutes between arrival and departure times. From May 18 flights from Christchurch will depart at 8.30am and arrive in Oamaru at 9.15am. The current service operates in the evening, departing at 6.20pm and arriving in Oamaru at 7.05pm. Flights from Oamaru will depart at 9.35am and arrive in Christchurch at 10.20am. Currently they depart at 7.05am and arrive at 7.50am. General manager Grant Kerr said the changes would better meet the needs of business travellers. A review of the service showed more customers utilised the service into Oamaru rather than out of Oamaru, he said.

Oamaru was soon no longer on the Air NZ network. Why cut a supposedly successful service like Masterton instead of cutting a service out of a centre where there are more numerous service options... eg Tauranga, Gisborne or Whangarei???

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