Rotorua to get 7% increase in flight capacity

Rotorua Airport is set to see an 7% increase in capacity from Air New Zealand as a result of schedule changes about to be implemented by the airline.

The changes include a 25% increase in capacity on the Auckland-Rotorua route, an increase of up to 20% on the Rotorua-Christchurch route, and improved connectivity between Rotorua and Queenstown, as well as Dunedin and Invercargill.

The increased capacity and connectivity will predominantly come from additional frequency on the Auckland and Christchurch routes.

These changes will also see an improvement in connectivity with Queenstown, with an increase from two to five connections daily from the end of October.

Rotorua Airport chief executive, Nicole Brewer, says the changes are extremely positive for the Rotorua community, economy and tourism sector, and are a reflection of increased patronage and support from local travellers and visitors, and a strong relationship with Air New Zealand.

“These changes firmly support our growing tourism industry, our local business community and our goal to achieve greater connectivity with Queenstown, which is a critical tourism route for Rotorua.

“The improved capacity and additional flights to and from Christchurch are particularly important, as good connectivity with the south island is essential for international visitors to Rotorua.”

Ms Brewer says the new schedule will provide improved choice for travellers, as well as better fare availability.

“Further more, the changes mean that a 68 seat ATR aircraft will overnight in Rotorua and provide an early morning flight to Christchurch, returning in the evening. This will deliver an improved service for southbound passengers currently travelling via Wellington.

“These changes also reinforce Air New Zealand’s commitment to Rotorua and, if demand is demonstrated and proven, additional capacity will be provided. At the same time, if demand drops, then it is likely we will see a corresponding change in capacity.”

The implementation of Air New Zealand’s new schedule will see a change in services on the Rotorua-Wellington route, with the reduction of two flights a week and a change in departure times.

Ms Brewer says this route has been under performing for some time, and the schedule changes have been designed to lift performance, and consequently, sustainability of the route.

“While the Wellington changes will not suit everyone, we will continue to actively work with Air New Zealand on this route to measure the impact and opportunities, and explore other options.”

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says the updates to the schedule are “great for inbound and international visitors in a growing tourism market”.

“We are certainly making good progress for our wanted north-south link, but recognise that the changes to Wellington-Rotorua flights, from October, will not meet the needs of all travellers and will be watching the situation closely.”

Ms Brewer says additional capacity and connectivity is likely to be introduced in the coming months for the peak summer season, including Chinese New Year.

The changes in the Air New Zealand schedule will be available for booking next week, for travel from 30 October, 2016.