On the eve of the 2003 SBS ITU Triathlon World Championships weekend, the race’s official airline has announced an increase in its domestic and international services to Queenstown.
Representing a significant boost for local tourism, Air New Zealand will operate a second Sydney to Queenstown return flight per week from 6 July 2004, departing on a Tuesday. The existing Saturday direct flight remains unchanged.
In addition, the twice weekly flights will utilise new 146 seat Airbus A320 aircraft, a 28% increase on the 114 seat capacity of the existing 737 aircraft. The Airbus A320 will begin operating on the Saturday service from March 2004.
In the past two weeks Air New Zealand has also commenced a third Auckland to Queenstown direct flight per day, six days a week (excludes Wednesday). It takes the total number of weekly direct flights from Auckland from 14 to 20, increasing capacity on the route by more than 40%
Air New Zealand Group General Manager Marketing, Network and Sales Norm Thompson says the airline is excited about the potential of the additional flights.
“With an extra Sydney direct flight and the introduction of A320 aircraft we’re effectively increasing our capacity on the Queenstown - Sydney route by 256%. With the support of the region I’m sure we can make it a huge success to the benefit of everyone.”
“Also, the introduction of a three weekly service to and from Sydney during the peak ski season worked well in 2003 and it is looking promising that we will continue this for the 2004 season.
“We will again have a Saturday Brisbane to Queenstown service for the 11 week peak period of the ski season from 10 July - 18 September and the introduction of a new Melbourne to Queenstown service for the same period is also looking promising, subject to Queenstown airport resolving operational constraints. Together with increased direct flights from Auckland, Air New Zealand is working hard to drive tourism to the region.”
Air New Zealand’s increased activity in the area has already provided strong benefits. Since the launch of Air New Zealand’s domestic Express Class in November 2002, domestic Queenstown flights have carried an additional 32,000 passengers, a 21.4 percent increase.
Extending it’s support of the region even further, Air New Zealand’s sponsorship of this weekend’s 2003 SBS ITU Triathlon World Championships has seen the airline work with Tourism New Zealand to host a number of key media.
In addition, all offshore athletes travelling with Air New Zealand to the event have benefited from a bike freighting waiver on the international legs of their trip, a substantial investment by the airline designed to make the competitors’ visit to New Zealand more cost effective and streamlined.
With so many competitors and their equipment converging on Queenstown, Air New Zealand has also arranged twice daily trucking services from Auckland and Christchurch to get all bikes to the town.
Destination Queenstown is thrilled Air New Zealand is supporting the region through its sponsorship of the championships and relishes the chance to host thousands of international and domestic visitors.
“The 2003 SBS ITU Triathlon World Championships is the biggest event to hit Queenstown and with Air New Zealand’s support we hope to stimulate interest and ultimately generate repeat visits by international and New Zealand travellers,” says Destination Queenstown CEO David Kennedy.
“Hosting this great event provides an opportunity to assert ourselves as a leading tourism destination for sporting enthusiasts and holidaymakers alike, which will have positive economic spin-offs for the wider community and New Zealand.”
Air New Zealand also sponsors triathlete legend Hamish Carter, who will be Air New Zealand’s ambassador when he competes in the championships.