01 May 2015

Westport Service off to a Good Start

Sounds Air is pleased with passenger loadings for the few days of its Westport to Wellington service, despite one empty flight. Sounds Air began the new service on Tuesday, replacing Air New Zealand's 19-seater Beech 1900D with nine-seater Pilatus PC12s. "We've got a 61 per cent load factor for the first week. I'm more than happy," said managing director Andrew Crawford. "All it can do is build. Passengers are loving it - they can't believe how good the plane is. There's been some very positive feedback." The 61 per cent loading equates to 5.4 seats per flight. Air New Zealand averaged a 63 per cent loading - 12 seats per flight. Sounds Air provides 26 flights a week - six more than Air New Zealand - but fewer seats (234 compared to 380). Mr Crawford said the number of seats sold per flight so far had varied from nine to this morning's 7.30am return flight from Wellington which was empty. That flight time would change to 8.15am from next Monday. Feedback from House of Travel and some business customers indicated people coming to Westport from Christchurch and Auckland couldn't make Wellington early enough to catch the 7.30am flight. The 6.15am departure time for the flight from Westport to Wellington would remain unchanged. Meanwhile, the Westport Airport Authority says Buller ratepayers won't have to top-up Sounds Air's new service unless the average number of seats sold per flight over a year falls below three. The airline has a six-year deal, including a seat guarantee, with the Buller District Council which operates Westport Airport. Asked for details of the guarantee, Westport Airport Authority chief executive Sonia Cresswell said it was a "robust legal agreement which safeguarded the council and exposed it to minimum risk". "As long as the average of three seats per flight is met then there will never be any need to enact the guarantee. The average is worked out over a year. "We don't anticipate having to enact the guarantee given our history of seat averages on flights over several years being 12." The amount had not been budgeted for but had been noted as a contingency, she said. "It is now up to the community to show evidence of their support in the form of passengers on flights. I look forward to welcoming people and putting on extra flights to meet demand."

Source : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11441835


  1. On the topic of loadings however, it has been kept relatively quiet thats SoundsAir have pulled Wellington to Wanganui from mid may......

    1. You are correct, last flight that is on the booking site is 15 May. $125 does not make enough!

  2. Inevitable really.

    Does this mean we will see a media beat up accusing Sounds Air of only being profit driven and deserting small town New Zealand?

    1. Well its only fair, otherwise the media need to be exposed for bias and deliberate sensationalism and negativity toward Air NZ.

      Lets hope theres front page articles saying;

      "pulling out"
      "cut off"

  3. No only Air NZ is expected to operate at a loss for the benefit of Smallville!