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Hamilton-Sydney routes to be suspended

Media Release
6 October 2008

Air New Zealand to suspend two trans-Tasman routes from Hamilton

Air New Zealand will suspend services between Hamilton and Sydney and the Gold Coast during the traditionally lower demand period from 29 March to 24 October 2009.

Air New Zealand General Manager Tasman Pacific Airline Glen Sowry says the move is a result of weak demand and an oversupply of trans-Tasman capacity from Auckland.

“This decision is part of Air New Zealand’s ongoing review of its network to ensure we operate a sustainable business through the current global economic downturn which is seeing airlines suffer, and in many cases fail, the world over,”says Mr Sowry.

“We certainly regret having to suspend the three times per week service to Sydney and twice a week service to the Gold Coast. However, with poor load factors, equally poor yield and high fuel costs, we cannot afford to fly routes that lose money in the current economic environment.

“Quite simply, Waikato residents are not travelling like they used to, or are choosing to travel through Auckland Airport. The Hamilton – Sydney route for example has operated less than half full over the past six months. That’s the equivalent of operating more than 60 empty A320 flights on the Sydney route alone.

“Efforts to stimulate demand with significantly lower average fares compared to the rest of the Tasman network have not had the required affect.

“In addition, the glut in trans-Tasman capacity from Auckland is cannibalising the Hamilton services as many of those travelling to Australia from the Waikato appear to be flying from Auckland.”

Mr Sowry says Hamilton will still have an Australian connection, with retention of the twice weekly flights to and from Brisbane.

“While this will provide access to Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, it is important to note that unless the services are economically viable they will also come under review in the future. I urge Waikato residents to make the most of these direct services to help ensure their long term future.”

Mr Sowry says trans-Tasman services to and from Hamilton between now and March next year remain unchanged.

Additional aircraft capacity resulting from the suspensions will be used on other trans-Tasman services to enable the reduction in use of wide-body aircraft on those routes as demand softens overall.


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