24 May 2017

Potential Air Route Number 3

There is not a lot happening in the regional airline scene at moment and so I have been doing a bit of day dreaming and have had a few thoughts on potential new air routes for our regional airlines...

Jarden has suggested the following two routes and I have added the third one.

Suggested Route : Christchurch-Wanaka, Christchurch-Te Anau, Christchurch-Alexandra

Suggested Operator : 

Rationale :

Central Otago, in particular is experiencing spectacular growth with Queenstown leading the way. However, Alexandra, Cromwell and Wanaka are all experiencing tremendous growth  and further south Te Anau is also experiencing growth. In the past Alexandra has been linked to Dunedin and to Christchurch by various operators, Wanaka has been linked to Christchurch by various operators and Te Anau was linked to Christchurch with flights operating via Queenstown and Mount Cook by Mount Cook Airlines. At present Queenstown is the regional airport but the other communities have their own aspirations. for air services. With a major airport with lots of cheap fares nearby the question is how might this work? Perhaps a Sunair air taxi model, but certainly not using Aztecs. with flights operating out of Te Anau and calling into Wanaka or Alexandra if passengers were offering. A similar model might work for flights to Dunedin and including Queenstown as a pick up/drop off point. Suggested equipment might be the Pilatus PC-12 using a Sounds Air model of fares.

Previous Operators on Route :

Goldfields Air
Goldfields Air's Piper Navajo ZK-JGA at Christchurch on 9 April 1986
Pacifica Air  
Pacifica Air's Piper Chieftain ZK-FQW departs Alexandra on 1 December 1988
Air New Zealand - operated by Eagle Air
Eagle Air's Beech 1900 ZK-EAR at Wanaka on 8 January 2013

Negatives :
Queenstown and its cheap air fares

Check out this Youtube clip :

If you have a suggested route send me an email with your thoughts on it...


  1. Wanaka airport WILL become Queenstown airport in 25 years

    1. I think you are right...

    2. What is needed is bold thinking now - an international standard airport in/near Wanaka and high speed rail to Queenstown. That means a major government investment - but with the growth still available it should be started yesterday. The Queenstown Airport company will never do it - or at least not until the airport is overwhelmed by growth or (heaven forbid) suffers an accident...

  2. Known problems in theses areas makes it difficult to build year round routes that are sustainable with icing etc. Likely requires at minimum of a pc 12 to run these profitably

  3. Replies
    1. Soundsair is will not look at CHC/WKA or CHC/TEU. Its outside their current business model. They are currently happy in what they are doing at present.

  4. The experts on serving Wanaka and Te Anau were Mt Cook in its earlier days. They also served Mt Cook (of course). One of their key people told me that before Air NZ took full control, Mt Cook had a strong service operating where the key was frequency and those wanting to get to Christchurch would accept the indirect routing. Then Air NZ gradually dropped the frequency thinking that the same number would fly and yield would rise - but it didn't happen. Now the added problem is - where is the modern equivalent of the HS748? That standard of comfort safety and service is needed to achieve the passenger levels required by many.

    1. CV580 gets into Wanaka no problem, got the grunt to go just about anywhere

    2. The CV580's are getting old and Air Chats have said they need to start looking for their replacements.

  5. Wanaka would be perfect full capacity Q300 material. Just need to lengthen, widen and harden the runway a bit more.
    Te Anau is ready, it just needs a serious player for CHC service and perhaps Milford getting real with a more publicized and promoted route to ZQN.

    Anothe route to look at is IVC - ZQN.