Airport Loses Some Tasman Services

Airport Loses Some Tasman Services

Dunedin has lost its only Flights to Sydney and Melbourne with Virgin Australia’s announcement it will no longer be Flying to those cities in the coming summer. For some time Virgin has conducted a twice weekly jet service to Sydney and Melbourne and return over the peak holiday period of December January.

The Termination of those services comes as a surprise to Dunedin International Airport CEO John McCall, who says there has been a strong demand for Flights to both cities over the holiday period. He quoted year on year increases of Melbourne 16 percent and Sydney six percent.

The service has been conducted for several years as part of the alliance between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, with passengers Flying to Melbourne or Sydney on both Airlines Aircraft. In 2010, when the alliance was approved, Air New Zealand ceased its Flights from Dunedin to Brisbane as well as Melbourne and Sydney.

Virgin Australia does not dispute the figures produced by Dunedin International Airport but spokesman for the Airline, Luke O Donnell, says the two routes have been cancelled based on performance. He says his company had to consider passenger demand on all of its routes and had concluded that the Aircraft flown from Dunedin to Sydney and Melbourne would be more profitable on other routes.

While Jetstar and the Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand alliance will continue to fly to and from Brisbane four times a week, the loss of the Melbourne and Sydney Flights means, according to Dunedin International Airport, potentially 12,700 passenger seats over the holiday period.

International flights from Dunedin have declined since the signing and approval of the alliance. One of the conditions of the approval was that there would be no reduction in the number of seats on the Brisbane–Dunedin route.

The Melbourne and Sydney sectors were not included in the approval, despite strong representations from Dunedin International Airport and other southern interests.

First the Air New Zealand Flights to Melbourne and Sydney stopped and now Virgin Australia has followed suit. The announcement coincided with a visit to Dunedin by Jetstar’s New Zealand chief executive, Grant Kerr, and the Airline’s Flying Operations manager, Richard Falkner.

Grant says his company, which presently has a domestic presence in Dunedin with scheduled Flights to and from Auckland, will certainly be considering taking up the two summer direct Flights to be vacated by Virgin Australia. However, he emphasises that this would happen only if the routes proved to be economically viable. He confirms his company has no intention of increasing its Domestic Flights from Dunedin to any other destination than Auckland.

Dunedin International Airport,
Virgin Australia,
Air New Zealand,
Flights from Dunedin have declined ,
Domestic Flights from Dunedin,

Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor


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