Air New Zealand is to boost capacity on direct air services
between Auckland and Queenstown by nearly a third this
summer, which tourism leaders say will provide a boon for
domestic tourism in the resort.
The airline is to add a fifth daily flight between the city
and the resort, which will give travellers a choice of direct
services about every two hours.
The increased capacity will take the number of seats
available on direct services during summer to 5200 each way
Air New Zealand Australasia group general manager Bruce
Parton said the additional flights were expected to be
available for booking from later next week, with four
services per day in November, up from three, and five per day
Timing of the extra service was expected to be a
late-afternoon departure from Auckland return.
Yesterday's announcement followed the airline's slashing of
its fares on its domestic jet routes last week, including a
20% reduction on the year-round lead-in fare between Auckland
and Queenstown, which now starts at $79.
Additional capacity was also coming through increased use of
larger A320 aircraft on some existing services, replacing
Boeing 737 aircraft.
Demand for Queenstown as a destination seemed to have no
bounds, Mr Parton said yesterday.
"We've grown total passenger numbers on this route by 70%
over the past five years and the trend is continuing.
"We're already seeing great patronage in and out of
Queenstown this ski season with seat capacity on this route
up 12% and we're planning to build on that momentum during
the peak summer months." It was "very exciting" to have the
extra capacity for summer, Destination Queenstown chief
executive Graham Budd said yesterday.
"I think we've seen really good growth in winter services
over the past few years and some growth in summer, so to see
this addition to 5200 each way per week is great news."
It was critical effort was made to grow domestic visitor
numbers as well as international numbers, Mr Budd said.
The summer services had the benefit of more accessibility and
choice for Aucklanders and residents in the greater Auckland
region to visit Queenstown, but also offered extra
connectivity for international flights arriving into the city
to continue to the resort.
Asked why Aucklanders would want to come to the Wakatipu, Mr
Budd said there were still many citizens who had yet to
discover Queenstown. What they would find was a world-class
destination on their doorstep.
"Even as they fly in they will discover we have world-class
landscapes, a superb climate in summer and all-year round
relative to the seasons, which provides the environment to
undertake a huge range of outdoor activities, from wild
adventures like bungy through to the more mild experiences of
walking, cycling and wineries.
"And, because of our location in the deep South, we have
beautiful long days where in mid-summer it's not getting dark
"They can experience an international resort without leaving