16 September 2014

Marlborough Services Growing

Growth on Air New Zealand's services between Marlborough and Auckland has justified increasing the size of the planes on the route, the airline says. Air New Zealand "upgauged" the Marlborough-Auckland route in February, replacing the 19-seat Beechcraft 1900 planes with 50-seat Q300s. There are four return flights each day between the two airports. A spokeswoman for the airline said Air New Zealand was pleased with the outcome of its decision to upgauge the Blenheim to Auckland route earlier this year from 19-seat Beech aircraft to 50-seat Q300s. "Passenger volumes are good, but we're keen to work with Marlborough tourism authorities to continue to grow traffic on this route." She said the Blenheim-Auckland route was a mix of business and leisure travellers and the upgauge was a good opportunity for Air New Zealand and the region to work together to grow visitor numbers. "Air New Zealand has also recently upgauged some Blenheim-Wellington services and will continue to review that route." Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnson said the capacity on Air New Zealand's Marlborough-Auckland direct service increased 43 per cent last year, and there were now 1319 seats each way every week on the service. "For the year ending June 2014, passengers on the Marlborough to Auckland service were up by over 12 per cent on a 14 per cent increase in seats." Marlborough Airport's terminal is being expanded to cope. The $4 million development has started, with a new kiosk being built for rental cars, closer to the parking spaces. The three-stage design, by Auckland architectural practice Warren and Mahoney, would push the 19-year-old terminal out to the south and north, and add a new glass front facing north. It would mean a substantial increase in passenger waiting areas. Space for queuing at the ticket counters would increase substantially, and a third arrival and departure gate would be installed. Access to the baggage collection area would be under cover and more public toilets provided. A mezzanine floor has been included to provide a meeting area for the business sector.

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