Wanaka to Christchurch flights could take off in six weeks

A Sounds Air Pilatus PC12. Photo: Gavin Conroy
A Sounds Air Pilatus PC12. Photo: Gavin Conroy
A scheduled air service between Wanaka and Christchurch could be up and running within six weeks, if there is enough support.

Managing director of Sounds Air Andrew Crawford said today he was carrying out a survey into the potential for 15 scheduled return flights per week, with flights every day and up to three some days.

"We’ve had pretty good success Wellington to Taupo, Wellington to Westport and Blenheim to Christchurch so it seems like a logical extension to the network."

The flying time, using a nine-seat Pilatus PC12, would be about 45 minutes, and fares would range from $169 to $279 each way.

Air New Zealand advertised fares between Queenstown and Christchurch for today {THURS} at between $129 and $335.

Mr Crawford said one of the advantages of the proposed service for passengers was not having to drive across the Crown Range to Queenstown Airport.

"What people are buying is convenience.

"You go to your local airport.

"It’s a service for Wanaka and Christchurch people; it’s not a service for Queenstown.

"We think it will be very popular."

Sounds Air already operates six Pilatus and four Cessna Caravans between Wellington, Picton, Nelson, Blenheim, Taupo, Westport, Christchurch and Paraparaumu.

The company’s online survey said no additional infrastructure was required at Wanaka Airport.

"Sounds Air will use the existing runway, terminal building and local staff."

Air New Zealand stopped running its Eagle Air service to Wanaka in 2013.

Mr Crawford said that service ran during the middle of the day while Sounds Air would operate in the morning and at night "when people want to travel".

Wanaka Stakeholders Group spokesman Mark Sinclair said the proposal "makes a lot of sense" although it was up to the Upper Clutha community to decide.

The group is opposed to jet aircraft using Wanaka Airport.


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