South learns when jet planes back again

Night flights to Queenstown Airport are expected to lift passenger numbers in the next 12 months....
Photo by Blair Pattison.
Air New Zealand has released its domestic schedule for July and August and Jetstar has begun advertising seats for sale in July as southern skies appear set to get a lot busier.

While Air New Zealand unveiled plans to operate about 55% of its pre-pandemic lockdown domestic capacity during July and August, a Jetstar spokeswoman said the airline was monitoring demand on domestic New Zealand routes "and working through the current New Zealand in-flight requirements".

Jetstar would have an update "soon".

Air New Zealand networks general manager Scott Carr said the carrier was adding direct flights and increasing the frequency of flights next month.

"We’ve been encouraged by demand from leisure travellers recently and we’re also expecting demand for business travel to continue to build.

"As a result, we have been working to add more flying to our domestic schedule from next month and this includes additional services for the July school holidays," he said in a statement.

In Invercargill, Great South chief executive Graham Budd said the re-establishment of four return A320 jet services a week between Auckland and Invercargill and a daily weekday return service between Invercargill and Wellington was "really critical" for Southland’s economic re-start.

Invercargill Airport general manager Nigel Finnerty called the announcement a vote of confidence in the country’s deep south.

Great South general manager for tourism and events Bobbi Brown said the return of services would strengthen Invercargill’s position as a "gateway" to southern tourism hot spots.

Further north, Queenstown appears ready for a boost as well — from July, Queenstown will have 47 weekly return flights from Auckland; 19 weekly returns from Wellington; and 18 weekly returns from Christchurch.

Queenstown Airport corporate and community affairs general manager Sara Irvine called the announcement "encouraging".

"We are pleased to see Air New Zealand showing confidence in Queenstown and hopeful that there is solid demand for the services announced today."

And as Jetstar’s website shows tickets on sale for flights from Auckland to Dunedin resuming three days a week — Saturday, Monday and Wednesday — from July 4, and daily flights from Auckland to Queenstown resuming on July 1, she said the airport did "look forward to Jetstar recommencing domestic services at Queenstown Airport".

Dunedin Airport chief executive Richard Roberts did not respond to a request for comment yesterday, but Air New Zealand confirmed the airport would host 13 weekly returns from Auckland, 19 weekly returns from Wellington and 25 weekly returns from Christchurch.

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