Air New Zealand has introduced a new daily non-stop return service from Wellington to Queenstown for the 12-week ski season.
Along with direct services from Sydney and Brisbane, the country`s most popular tourist destination will now benefit from a total of nine extra services per week during the winter season.
The new operation out of Wellington, using a 66-seater ATR 72-500, is scheduled to run from 27 June until 21 September 2003.
Designed to stimulate the Wellington skiing market, it provides connections to and from other North Island airports as well as Sydney. The first flight on 27 June also coincides with the opening day of the Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival.
With enhanced connections out of Australia also confirmed, Air New Zealand will now be able to offer up to 6000 seats a week to and from Queenstown during the peak of the winter season.
Air New Zealand`s planning for the new service from the Capital was already well-advanced when the Wellington Airport Company (WIAL) last week revealed an average increase of 78 per cent in its service charges.
Air New Zealand`s Chief Operating Officer Andrew Miller says the airline accounts for about 1.3 million passengers travelling in and out of Wellington Airport each year. He also emphasises the new Express Class domestic service has stimulated a 20 per cent increase in passenger traffic through the airport since it was launched on 1 November last year.
“So it`s disappointing that despite Air New Zealand growing traffic in and out of Wellington, the airport company there appears to be working against us with its new fees,” he says.
“We`re investing in the Wellington market but our efforts aren`t being reciprocated.”
The direct Wellington-Queenstown flights will trim travel times by at least 30 minutes compared to transit trips through Christchurch.
The weekday service will depart from Wellington at 10.30 each day and return at 12.35. Departure out of Wellington on Saturdays will be 11.30, returning at 13.35 while on Sundays the departure times will be 10.30 and 13.15.