Air NZ to launch Whakatane-Wellington service
16 January 2008
Air New Zealand to launch Whakatane-Wellington service
Air New Zealand is to launch a direct service six days a week between Whakatane and Wellington.
The new service will be operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary Eagle Air, which will trial the route for six months from 19 May 2008 using a 19-seat Beech 1900D aircraft.
General Manager Grant Kerr said today the service was in response to strong and enthusiastic demand from Whakatane travellers, who currently travel to and from Wellington via Auckland, Rotorua or Tauranga.
“We’re delighted to be able to introduce this new direct service, which will reduce our Whakatane customers’ travel time by at least an hour,” he says.
Mr Kerr says the Whakatane-Wellington service is a logical addition to Eagle Air’s network. Air New Zealand last operated the route in 1999, but it was not sustainable at that time.
“Given the rapid growth in the Eastern Bay of Plenty we were keen to revisit the viability of a direct service into and out of Whakatane, given its status as the major service centre for the region.
“We were also cognisant of the fact that Whakatane is currently the only North Island port to the South of Auckland without a direct air service to Wellington, and that was an obvious gap in our regional network.
“We’re really pleased to be able to provide a convenient new service to both business and leisure travellers in Whakatane, and hope the local community will get behind it and provide us with the incentive to continue it permanently.”
The Mayor of Whakatane Colin Holmes has welcomed Air New Zealand’s decision.
Mr Holmes says despite this being a six month trial, the Eastern Bay of Plenty is the growth area of the future and this service will become permanent as a matter of course.
“I challenge the business community, especially the tourism industry to make full use of this service and not only guarantee that this service becomes a permanent feature but also create greater demand for increased services to the capital.”
Mr Holmes says the trial is the result of discussions between Air New Zealand and the Council and the Eastern Bay is looking forward to a productive long term partnership with Air New Zealand.
Mr Kerr says Eagle Air is committed to delivering a high level of service to those in smaller centres in New Zealand, and the new service will well complement its existing network.
The new direct service will operate return trips six days a week, with the schedule timed particularly to meet the needs of business travellers and those wishing to connect on to and from the South Island.
Tickets are available now at www.airnewzealand.co.nz, with one-way smart saver fares starting from $99.
Whakatane-Wellington schedule details:
Sector Departs/Arrives Day
WHK-WLG 0725/0840 Mon-Fri
WLG-WHK 1845/1955 Mon-Fri, plus Sun
WHK-WLG 2010/2125 Fri only