07 May 2013

More Air NZ Link flights for Taranaki

A major expansion of New Plymouth Airport's terminal is likely within the next two years to cope with rapid growth in airline passenger numbers. New Plymouth District Council property assets manager Peter Handcock yesterday confirmed the expansion, which will cost more than $3 million, had been slated to take place during the 2014-15 financial year. "But we're having to move quickly on this, because passenger numbers are continuing to rise very quickly," he said. The number of passengers using the terminal each year has moved through 300,000, and the council is now predicting it will close in on 340,000 by the end of this year.  Numbers took a big jump when Air New Zealand began flying 68-seat ATR72 planes between New Plymouth and Auckland from late October last year, and they are expected to jump again this October when the airline more than doubles the number of direct flights between Taranaki and Christchurch. Mr Handcock said the council had already hired extra airport staff to cope with the passenger growth and more might be required soon.  "And then there are facilities there. We're soon to have more planes parked at the airport each night, which is going to require the relocation of some fuel tanks. "And we don't think it will be long before more public car parking will be needed.  "Obviously this is all a good problem to have - but the passenger growth does present plenty of planning challenges." Air New Zealand yesterday confirmed the doubling of direct flights between New Plymouth and Christchurch. The change will allow Taranaki travellers to get to the South Island city early each week day without having to fly via Wellington. A third 50-seater Q300 plane will stay overnight at New Plymouth airport for this to happen. Air New Zealand corporate communications executive Kelly Kilgour said the increase would mean a jump from six to 13 return services per week. Capacity on the Auckland-New Plymouth route would also increase by one additional Saturday afternoon service, she added. "We believe the New Plymouth-Christchurch market has great growth potential and we hope to stimulate demand on the route with the increase in prime-time services," Ms Kilgour said.  "This will also provide more convenient access between the two ports and avoid customers having to transit through Wellington, freeing up more seats for passengers flying between New Plymouth and Wellington direct."  From October 14, the Christchurch flight will leave at 6.40am, followed by an Auckland flight at 6.50am and a Wellington flight at 7am. At present there is one return service each weekday and the times are not convenient for business travellers. When the new service kicks in, there will be two daily weekday flights each way - the flights south will depart at 6.40am and 11am, and the return flights will arrive at 10.05am and 7.45pm.  The improved link between Taranaki and Canterbury is the result of Air New Zealand buying seven new regional ATR aircraft. This is giving the airline the flexibility to use the Q300 and smaller Beech 1900D planes on other routes.

Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/business/8639372/Upgrade-at-airport-as-passenger-lists-grow

No comments:

Post a Comment