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SkyBus Airport Express to be indefinitely suspended

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

SkyBus today announced that it will indefinitely suspend operation of its Auckland Airport Express services. The Auckland Express service has been paused since 20 August 2021 and the North Harbour Express since March 2020.

A drop in passenger numbers of over 80% since March 2020, the start of the Covid-19 global pandemic, has resulted in SkyBus operating at an unsustainable level, with significant financial losses being incurred each month.

Commenting on the indefinite suspension, Calum Haslop, Head of Kinetic in New Zealand said it was not a decision that was taken lightly and follows extensive consultation with both employees and key stakeholders including Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport.

"We have 50 dedicated and passionate team members who have built this business into what it is today, and we have invested over $35 million in new vehicles and operations.

"Our business does not receive any of the normal subsidies that other urban bus services enjoy, and therefore its only source of income is from passenger fares. Up until last year, we operated two high-frequency routes that ran up to 24/7. In an attempt to ensure the business remained sustainable in the face of ongoing global travel restrictions we made multiple changes over the last 17-months, including route changes, reducing frequency of services and lower fares.

"Unfortunately, with Auckland in lockdown yet again and no end in sight for border restrictions, we simply can’t continue to operate the service," continues Mr Haslop.

"We also don’t underestimate the impact our decision will have on both travellers and airport staff who rely heavily on SkyBus to get to Auckland Airport, day in and day out. We thank them for their loyalty and support, and sincerely hope that we can re-emerge when conditions change."

The decision that SkyBus will not recommence the Airport Express services when Auckland comes out of lockdown was made yesterday (22/09/21), following a period of consultation earlier in September, and having given due consideration to all the feedback received from employees and key stakeholders including Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport. SkyBus will however reassess the viability of reintroducing both services over the longer term when all border restrictions for international passengers are finally removed.

All affected employees will receive their full entitlements and support has been provided to assist them with this transition. Wherever possible, they will be offered positions in other parts of the Kinetic group of companies in New Zealand, including Go Bus and Johnston’s Coachlines.

SkyBus Auckland Airport airside operations remain unaffected.

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