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Freedom Air Resumes Melbourne Services

28 April 2006

Freedom Air Resumes Melbourne Services

Freedom Air has today announced it will resume services to Melbourne from Hamilton, Palmerston North and Dunedin.

The two services per week will be available on a seasonal basis during the summer period (late October - late March) when New Zealanders traditionally head across the ditch to visit friends and relatives or seek guaranteed warmer weather. This is also the peak time for Kiwis living in Australia to travel home to be with friends and family.

The low cost airline reviewed all routes in late 2005 and withdrew the Melbourne services, which were consistently performing below expectations.

Freedom Air General Manager Stephen Jones says the three regions have since made it clear they want the Melbourne service to return and the airline has been investigating ways to make it a viable route.

"People were very disappointed when we came off Melbourne but for Freedom it was a sensible business decision as the route was losing money. It's quite simple - people need to use the services if they want to maintain them.

"Over the past six months Freedom has been in ongoing talks with key stakeholders in the region to look at how the airline can bring Melbourne back to these markets as a feasible business operation.

"We've concluded that a seasonal service is the best option - and that the continuance of this is dependant on the support we receive from the public. It's now up to the people living in the regions to demonstrate their need for these services by flying with Freedom Air to Melbourne."

To facilitate the re-introduction of Melbourne services, it was necessary to review Freedom's existing route structure.

Fiji services from Hamilton and Palmerston North were not performing well over the summer months as more people travelled to the islands during winter. So for Palmerston North and Hamilton, Freedom Air has moved to seasonal schedules that interchange between Melbourne and Fiji.

The Wellington to Fiji route has also been withdrawn over the New Zealand summer months.

"We are confident this is the best solution to provide our customers with the options they want while ensuring our business is operating in a viable way," says Mr Jones.

ENDS

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