Air New Zealand will increase capacity into and out of Tauranga by adding a new weekday Wellington return flight and operating the larger ATR aircraft on early morning flights to Auckland.
The national carrier’s extra flight to the capital will start this April, aiming to meet demand during peak business times.
The extra flight means there will now be two peak morning flights departing Tauranga before 7.30am.
The schedule also sees existing morning flights to Auckland retimed with two peak morning weekday flights for the business community. Both early morning flights will be operated by the airline’s68-seat ATR aircraft.
Some other evening services into Tauranga from Auckland will also be operated by the larger ATR aircraft.
The changes reflect capacity growth on Tauranga services of more than 20 per cent over the winter months compared to the same period last year. The finalised schedule sees a total of 87 return flights from Tauranga to the two cities per week.
Tourism Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Officer Kristin Dunne says she is delighted with the extra capacity, with the airport acting as an important gateway for visitors to Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty.
“We have been in discussions with Air New Zealand for quite some time to help this become a reality and meet the needs of a growing economy.
“This is a show of faith from Air New Zealand in recognising the exponential growth this region has experienced – one that is forecast to continue.”
Tauranga Airport manager Ray Dumble says greater numbers help to enhance operational efficiency.
He adds that Tauranga is one of the fastest-growing airports in New Zealand in terms of arrivals and departures, and that more connectivity will be great for the city.
“With the constant migration of families and businesses from the likes of Auckland to here, we are seeing increased demand for flights. This applies especially during peak business times.
“I applaud Air New Zealand for addressing this issue by adding more flights and creating a user-friendly schedule - and I have no doubt our business community does too.
“This will only further enhance Tauranga’s reputation as a leading airport and destination.”
Air New Zealand Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier says it’s terrific to see continued strong demand for services into and out of Tauranga.
“We are pleased we have been able to achieve this additional capacity at peak business times on both our Tauranga-Wellington and Tauranga-Auckland routes.
“This is a result of collaboration between the local chamber, airport, council and Bay of Plenty Tourism, and will be of great benefit to the wider community.”
The new schedule will be publsihed progressively.