Guarantee necessary: operator

Flights connecting Dunedin travellers to international flights leaving from Queenstown would need a guarantee of patronage before they could be launched, a local operator says.

A regular connecting flight between Dunedin, which has recently lost international flights, and Queenstown, which has gained them, has been raised as the debate over the city's response to the loss continues.

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Dunedin-based Mainland Air launched a flight from Dunedin International Airport to Queenstown in 2012.

But operations manager Philip Kean said it was ''never patronised''.

Most people were used to driving the route, and continued to do so.

Passengers who did take the flight were either professional people, or people visiting family.

''Not one'' passenger was making a connecting flight.

Mr Kean did not expect the addition of international flights to Queenstown to make a difference.

But if an organisation or company were to guarantee seat purchases, that could change things, he said.

Bulk booking of seats by companies or organisations is one idea that has surfaced this week.

Mr Kean said the company could do the trip for about $150 a head.

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