24 December 2013

Last Wellington-Wanganui flight

Tonight marks the end of Air New Zealand's service between Wellington and Wanganui.

Traditionally Wanganui had alays been linked to Wellington by NAC and Air New Zealand Friendships. When Air New Zealand withdrew the Friendships Air Air Nelson Metroliners continued to connect the capital and the River City. When the Metroliners were being phased out in favour of Beech 1900s the service was withdrawn, the last flight being operated in mid-2002. 

Nearly five years later, after a lot of community pressure, an Air New Zealand Wellington-Wanganui connection was reintroduced on the 12th of February 2007. The reintroduced service was operated by Air NZ Link carrier Eagle Air using Beech 1900s. A weekday return was operated to the capital city, departing Wanganui in the early morning and returning Sunday to Friday evenings. An additional Friday night service was also flown from Wanganui to Wellington. When announcing the service Doug Roberts, general manager of Eagle Air, said, “Putting the Wanganui-Wellington service back will work, not only in terms of Wellington-bound traffic but also connections to the South Island and international flights. The old service was always a problem because of its timing. But this new service will be perfect. It gets people there early and gives them plenty of time to get their business done before catching the evening flight home.” 

Despite these optimistic words the service struggled and more recently the service, on three days a week, the service has seen its southbound journey begin at Taupo picking up passengers at Wanganui on the way south with the reverse being flown in the evening. Tonight's final flight, which is full between Wellington and Wanganui, will follow this pattern with the Beech arriving at Wanganui as NZ 2782 at 7:35pm before continuing on to Taupo at 7.50pm.

While Air New Zealand has not been able to make a go of the service Sounds Air is going to give it a go! From the 21st of January 2014 Sounds Air will operate their Cessna Caravan on the route to a similar timetable. The big difference that Sounds Air offers is more reasonable fares and a real desire to build up its markets. It will be interesting to see how their service develops.


  1. The last service is running around 40 minutes late tonight...sort of fitting I guess...delayed due late arrival of inbound a/c from Westport.

  2. Last flight was operated by Beech 1900D ZK-EAO.