The recently announced addition of a new Airbus A320 aircraft to Air New Zealand’s domestic fleet will enable the airline to retime the direct morning service between Dunedin and Auckland once the aircraft joins the fleet early next year. Earlier this month the airline announced a significant investment in new Airbus aircraft including an additional A320 to join its domestic operation.
Air New Zealand says it has accelerated the purchase of this 15th domestic A320 to allow improvements to its Dunedin-Auckland schedule. From March 2015 the airline will operate an earlier direct return service between the two cities with the flight departing Auckland at 7.25am and making the return leg from Dunedin at 9.55am.
“We’ve listened to customer feedback from business travellers in particular and we’re pleased that this new aircraft will give us the ability to adjust our current morning schedule to better suit their needs,” said Richard Thomson, general manager networks, Air New Zealand.
Air New Zealand continues to work closely with stakeholders in Dunedin to ensure sustainable operations. Dunedin International Airport, colloquially known as Momona Airport, is located in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand, serving Dunedin city and the Otago and Southland regions and is the fifth busiest airport in the country. Alongside the service to Auckland the national carrier also links Dunedin to Christchurch and Wellington through its regional partners.
Air New Zealand is the largest operator by capacity on the Dunedin – Auckland route, based upon this month’s flight schedules. It currently offers a twice daily schedule which competes with the daily offering from Jetstar Airways in this market. All these flights are operated using Airbus A320 equipment.
“This is a great result for the travel market between Auckland and Dunedin and in particular the business community which will have more flexibility when planning business trips to and from both cities. We appreciate that Air New Zealand has listened to its customers and know that this announcement will be well received by both business and leisure travelers,” added John McCall, chief executive officer, Dunedin International Airport.
In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at bi-directional O&D passenger demand between Dunedin and Auckland over the past ten years. This market has seen rapid growth in the past year with demand rising 45.1 per cent in 2013 despite overall seat capacity declining 1.9 per cent between 2012 and 2013. This growth in demand can be partly attributed by a ten per cent fall in air fares on the route with average one-way fares declining from $195 in 2012 to $174 in 2013.