Direct flights between Dunedin and Australia more popular

Direct travel between Dunedin and Australia is increasing.

Over the last few summers Virgin Australia has been operating direct flights between Dunedin, Melbourne and Sydney in addition to the year-round Brisbane service.

This season, seat capacity on the Sydney and Melbourne flights has increased, and so too has the number of people flying on the two routes.

In December, the eight Sydney and Melbourne flights each week were 70% full on average.

There were a total of 5984 seats available, of which 4189 were occupied.

In December 2012, the direct Sydney and Melbourne flights had a total combined capacity of 5633 seats, of which 61% (3437) were occupied.

Direct Dunedin-Brisbane flights in December were also 67% occupied on average.

Of the 6336 seats available on the eight flights each week, 4281 were bought.

Overall, taking into account all direct Dunedin and Australia flights, there were 1009 more seats available and 712 more passengers in December 2013 than a year earlier.

Dunedin International Airport chief executive John McCall said it was pleasing to see the additional capacity utilised, which showed there was strong demand for the direct flights.

''We hope to see this continue with the Dunedin-Brisbane flights over the rest of the year,'' he said.

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