25 April 2016

The trouble with the two flights a day schedule

Air New Zealand's "ridiculous" new flight schedule to Timaru is making business difficult, a local businessman says. Brian Kenton says having the latest flight out of town at 11.30am forces business visitors to work late into the night or stay in town two nights instead. He believes TImaru District Council should raise the issue as it plans to revamp Richard Pearse airport. Kenton, who is a director in several South Canterbury companies including engineering firm Wallace and Cooper, said on Monday a series of business meetings last week showed how difficult air commutes to Timaru were. He said the schedule, which Air New Zealand introduced in MArch along with 50-seat airplanes to replaces its 19-seat Beechraft fleet, was less than ideal for visitors coming from Nelson, Dunedin, Auckland and Wellington. He understood many businesspeople preferred to fly to Christchurch and drive a rental car from there instead of flying to Richard Pearse Airport. "Nobody can fly in and do a day's business," Kenton said. "It's ridiculous." Timaru District mayor Damon Odey said last week population was the district's "biggest hurdle". Kenton said Timaru District, which has a population of about 43,000, needed more residents. "People make work." Kenton said Nelson, whose population had grown more quickly than Timaru's in recent decades, enjoyed more air connections than Timaru. Nelson airport's website states 283 flights a week land and take off there. Air New Zealand's weekly flights to and from Timaru total 24. Timaru District Council is discussing Air New Zealand's requirements in a planned $1.3 million upgrade of Richard Pearse airport, and Kenton said its flight schedule should be raised in discussions. Timaru Airport chief executive Ashley Harper said on Tuesday the council "understand that the new times will not work for everyone but are confident that Air New Zealand has listened to our feedback". Harper, who is also the council's district services group manager, said the council had been "in close consultation" with the airline about its new aircraft and new schedule for 12 months. "We welcome the larger aircraft and the improved level of service for Timaru air passengers", Harper said. An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline consulted with local businesspeople and key stakeholders to ensure the schedule met most customers's needs before introducing it. The revised schedule allowed Timaru customers to travel to Wellington and back in a day and connect to other New Zealand ports and return the same day, the spokeswoman said. She said Air New Zealand would continue to work with "local stakeholders", but said it was difficult to meet every customer's needs. Kenton said he refused to believe Air New Zealand cared "one little bit" about Timaru. South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce president John Cannell said the chamber had not received any complaints about the service, but had "a real desire for the flight schedule to work in the best interests of Timaru".

Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/79037676/air-new-zealand-timaru-schedule-no-good-for-businesses-company-director-says

Taupo has the same problem with its flights to Auckland and Hokitika will be the same from next week...


  1. No point comparing Timaru and Nelson.

    The mayor should be glad they still even have a service, besides isn't it a good thing that the people who need to fly to Timaru for business spend money and stay a night. That would help local economy a little.

    I would hazard a guess that this flight allows locals to connect to Airnz international flights and this flight would be a loss leader to stop locals driving to chc to pickup the tempting offers from the ever growing operator base.

    It would be interesting to see what the F27 schedule was into Timaru.

    Personally I think that these smaller bases need to be careful that they don't loose services all together. The next option would be a Pa31 service...... Then that would be the beginning of the complaints!

  2. I agree with the comment, that the flight is to allow the locals to connect with with internationals from WLG & AKL and domestic flights to other North Island destinations plus WLG/BHE flights.

    Timaru district at 43,000 just meets the minimum requirement of 40,000 residents for an Air NZ regional service.

  3. There is no minimum requirement look they still serve Hokitika that town's population is only 2,700. Plus there is only 30,000 in all of the West Coast regional council area. Demand from Timaru will always be affected by so much choices available through CHC airport just up the road.

    1. Yeah...more the fact that if Air NZ pulled out...Jetstar would be so in!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. hahaha you are joking, right Alec?

    4. The West Coast is a world of its own.

      CHC/HKK services have a good percentage of overseas tourists travelling from CHC to the coast where they pick up or drop off of a rental at Hokitika and travel to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and onto Wanaka and Queenstown.

      The overseas tourists especially from Asia, didn't like flying on the 1900's over the Southern Alps, as they thought the aircraft where to small and were nervous of flying in them.

  4. Yes there is a desire for an afternoon arrival/departure.
    But this will likely come in the fullness of time once more ATR's free up Q300s and these small markets become more stimulated.

    This is exactly what is occurring in other ex Beech markets, the new schedule from late October sees AKL-ROT, AKL-GIS, AKL-TUO get additional return flights.

    Timaru should be grateful they got an overnight, not every ex eagle destination has so far.

    1. On that, one word - WOW.
      Fares to Taupo are incredibly cheap these days, take a look on the Air NZ website. From tomorrow right up to this time next year average around $79-$89
      Even if I wanted to go tomorrow morning its $89.