Airlines to add 36,000 more transtasman seats in summer

Transtasman capacity to Queenstown will be boosted by almost 50% next summer by alliance partners Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia.

The airlines will operate an additional 36,000 seats between Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Queenstown by adding up to seven additional transtasman services a week between November and March.

Capacity to and from Christchurch will also be bolstered with an additional 43,000 seats - a 13% increase, by up to seven additional weekly services.

Air New Zealand chief sales and commercial officer Cam Wallace said it was good to see demand growing for South Island international airports.

''We believe this additional capacity to two of our key South Island ports will appeal to both leisure and business travellers with convenient onward connections to our domestic network.''

Virgin Australia chief commercial officer Judith Crompton said this week's announcement demonstrated the alliance's commitment to enhancing the offering for customers, providing more choice and a better response to seasonal demand from Australian travellers.

All services would be operated by a combination of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft, as well as a Boeing 767 on the Christchurch-Perth route.

All aircraft operating transtasman services into Queenstown were equipped with Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology, allowing them to take off and land in low-visibility, Such conditions had often caused schedule disruptions in the region.

Wednesday's announcement followed news Queenstown Airport had been rated one of the world's top 10 scenic airport approaches for 2014, by private jet booking company

It was the only airport in the southern hemisphere to make the international top 10.

A judging panel short-listed airports that offered passengers a ''truly inspirational'' view on approach, before asking readers to cast their votes.

Nice, Cote d'Azur was voted the most scenic, followed by St Maarten (Caribbean), Barra (Scotland), Los Angeles, Aruba (Caribbean), Rio de Janeiro, Gibraltar, Squamish (British Columbia, Canada), London City and Queenstown.

Earlier this month, the airport announced Australia and New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authorities had approved the foundation case for after-dark flights into Queenstown.

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