Businesses have been calling for better flight services
between Dunedin airport and Auckland. Photo by Stephen
Air New Zealand has returned a direct morning flight from
Auckland to Dunedin to its schedule, a small piece of good news
for the city's air services and business community.
But the retiming of the flight goes only halfway to returning
to the city what it had had.
From next March, the airline will operate an earlier direct
return service, departing Auckland at 7.25am and making the
return leg from Dunedin at 9.55am.
The flight allows businesspeople to travel to Dunedin early
The Otago Chamber of Commerce welcomed the move, but hoped
that a direct evening flight from Auckland to Dunedin,
allowing Dunedin businesspeople to return from a day in
Auckland, might also make a comeback.
The issue has been centre stage since the schedule was
changed early this year.
It has raised the ire of business leaders, who have said it
made the city appear difficult to access.
The airline said yesterday the recently announced addition of
a new Airbus A320 aircraft to its domestic fleet would enable
the airline to retime the direct morning service between
Dunedin and Auckland once the aircraft joined the fleet early
Air New Zealand networks general manager Richard Thomson said
the company had listened to feedback from business travellers
in particular, and adjusted its morning schedule to better
suit their needs. Dunedin International Airport chief
executive John McCall said the Auckland flight had been
arriving at 10.40am.
The move was ''a great result for the travel market between
Auckland and Dunedin and in particular the business
community, which will have more flexibility when planning
business trips to and from both cities'', he said.
The airport appreciated Air New Zealand had listened to its
The direct evening flight from Auckland was something the
business community wanted to see reinstated, he said.
He was ''encouraged'' by yesterday's announcement and would
continue to talk to the airline in the hope that might
Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said the
announcement was ''definitely'' good news.
Air New Zealand had said it would restore the services.
''They've done that - or half done it.''
While different people had different needs, he thought the
evening flight might be more important to business.
''It's a start, definitely a start,'' he said of the
Air New Zealand said it would ''continue to work closely with
stakeholders in Dunedin to ensure sustainable operations''.