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Eagle Air suspends flights to Wanaka

Media release
14 November 2012
Eagle Air suspends flights to Wanaka

Eagle Air is suspending its loss making service between Christchurch and Wanaka from January next year.

The service was first introduced in 2004 but has always struggled commercially and is not projected to break even in the near future.

Eagle Air General Manager Carrie Hurihanganui says the situation has been exacerbated by ongoing cost increases; including those at both the Christchurch and Wanaka ends of the service.

Queenstown Lakes District Council increased facilities rental costs at Wanaka Airport last year and Christchurch International Airport Limited recently declared a 63% increase in landing fees from December, with another increase planned for July 2013. This is despite average fares for this market having reduced by 4% over the past five years.

“For more than eight years we’ve worked hard to try to make this route work. We’ve tried increasing schedule frequency, different service timings, reducing fares, investing in promoting the service and working with local stakeholders; including suggestions around improving local infrastructure. All of this has proved unsuccessful and only added to the hundreds of thousands of dollars we have lost on this route over the years.

“To break even on the Christchurch – Wanaka route we would need to increase fares by over 40% but the average fare is already higher than the average fare between Christchurch and Queenstown.”

Queenstown offers about 25,000 return seats per week to a range of destinations and Ms Hurihanganui says the Christchurch – Wanaka route simply can’t compete.

The last flight to operate this service will be 30 January 2013.


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