13 September 2013

Sounds Air for Masterton???

Picton-Based airline Sounds Air is looking to capitalise on frustration in Wairarapa over Air New Zealand axing its service to the region. While criticism continues of the national carrier's decision to can its Masterton-Auckland route, Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford told The Dominion Post his airline would meet Masterton Mayor Garry Daniell on Monday to discuss stepping into the breach from November.  Mr Daniell said other airlines were also considering bidding for the route. If terms could be agreed, Sounds Air would offer a low-cost, early-morning service to Wellington for onward connections to Auckland, Christchurch and elsewhere, Mr Crawford said. "I've seen the Air New Zealand fares, they're pretty horrendous." Mr Daniell hit out at comments by Air New Zealand spokesman Andrew Aitken on Wednesday that one of the key factors in the decision to axe the route was increased airport-landing charges. Mr Daniell, whose council was responsible for much of the work and expense required to lure Air New Zealand to Masterton in 2009, said this was "just wrong".  "There has been no increase in landing fees since Air New Zealand started at Masterton." The council charged an "absolutely minimal" $300 a landing, amounting to $21,000 a year, out of which it paid for upkeep on the runway, terminal and other facilities, Mr Daniell said. Mr Aitken stood by the claim yesterday in an email to The Dominion Post. Wairarapa MP John Hayes questioned Air New Zealand's claim that there was a lack of demand for the service. The airline had told him the flights were, on average, 72 per cent full, he said. Mr Aitken replied that that figure was "actually relatively poor".  Some passengers said they were at times quoted up to $900 for a flight, but Mr Aitken said the route's average fare did not cover the basic operating costs of the service. Air New Zealand, which is 73 per cent state-owned, made a profit last year of $182 million.


  1. Bit worried about the Mayor's math. $300 a turnaround = $1800 a week = $93,600 per year?!?!

  2. That'll get the Squeaker excited.