International Air New Zealand flights return to resort

The first international Air New Zealand flights in almost 12 months touched down at Queenstown Airport yesterday, signalling the beginning of the winter rush.

Flights NZ264 from Melbourne and NZ260 from Brisbane landed about 20 minutes apart and, to celebrate Matariki, were greeted by Wakatipu High School’s kapa haka group.

Air NZ is the third airline to resume international flights to Queenstown since borders reopened — Qantas’ first scheduled services started late last month, while Jetstar followed suit on June 2.

Airport corporate and community affairs general manager Sara Irvine said winter passenger numbers were looking positive as far as arrivals went, however, "we aren’t expecting to reach pre-Covid levels this year".

Wakatipu High School kapa haka performers greeted passengers on Air New Zealand’s first flights...
Wakatipu High School kapa haka performers greeted passengers on Air New Zealand’s first flights from Australia to Queenstown in almost a year yesterday. PHOTO: QUEENSTOWN AIRPORT
"During the peak winter period, airlines have scheduled similar capacity on domestic routes to what they had in 2019 and about 75% on international routes."

Destination Queenstown’s most recent 90-day forward outlook, published yesterday, shows accommodation occupancy in the Wakatipu is about 85% of available capacity tonight, dropping slightly through next week.

Based on commercial accommodation bookings, the forward outlook shows accommodation providers hovering between 75% and 85% of available capacity until the beginning of August.

Before this weekend, accommodation occupancy was sitting about 35% of available capacity.



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