Evening flight being cut

Air New Zealand has cut its only evening flight between Auckland and Dunedin.

From March the 7pm flight - which arrives in Dunedin at 9pm - ceases, with the last direct flight of the day departing Auckland at 3.30pm.

Last week, Air New Zealand representatives were in Dunedin to discuss changes with stakeholders.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said the change was prompted by the airline changing aircraft flying the route.

The move from the Boeing 737-300 (133 seats) to Airbus A320 (171 seats) meant total capacity had gone down about 10% ''as they are using two aircraft instead of three''.

The airline was not in a position to respond to Otago Daily Times questions last night.

However, Mr Christie said the airline may look at putting on an additional service to meet the needs of travellers wanting a later flight.

''I think it is a short-term measure until they see that demand increase.''

The change would impact on travellers wanting to return late to Dunedin, as they would now have to take two flights.

''It would be fair to say there are a number of business people that are a wee bit disgruntled by the loss of that service, in particular those that are frequent flyers.

''We will be certainly interested to watch what Air New Zealand do in the medium term as to whether they put in an additional flight back in there.''

Mr Christie said the rescheduling disadvantaged Auckland-Dunedin travellers, and the chamber would be working alongside the airline to ensure this would not continue over the long term.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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