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Rotorua welcomes Air New Zealand flight schedules changes

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Air New Zealand flight scheduling between Rotorua and Wellington is changing next month [April] to enable business travellers a full day’s work in the capital.

The changes are also expected to strengthen Rotorua efforts to attract more domestic visitors from Wellington.

The changes will take effect from 4 April 2018 and Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, who has led efforts to reinstate early morning flights from Rotorua to Wellington, says it is great news.

The mayor, airport management and Rotorua Chamber of Commerce have worked with Air New Zealand to make flight schedule changes to enable locals needing to be in the capital for work and/or meetings to have a full day of business in Wellington.

"Current flight schedules don’t allow for that and we’ve lobbied hard on behalf of our business community," the mayor says. "Air New Zealand has listened and it’s now up to the local business community to support the new schedule and ensure it remains viable for the airline.

"This is something our business community has told us is important so I’m sure the new schedule will be well utilised."

What’s changing?

- Reinstatement of Monday to Friday 7am flight from Rotorua to Wellington with a return flight departing Wellington at 6.20pm;

- Addition of a Rotorua to Wellington flight Friday evenings, increasing the number of Rotorua to Wellington flights on Fridays from three to four;

- Additional Wellington to Rotorua service on Sundays, departing 6.20pm, increasing the number of Wellington to Rotorua flights on Sundays from two to three;

- The two extra weekend evening services (Fridays and Sundays) equate to a 5% increase in capacity on the Rotorua-Wellington route over the winter months, compared with last year.

Peter Stubbs, who chairs both the Rotorua Airport board and the board of Council’s economic development CCO Rotorua Economic Development Ltd, says the new schedule has come at the right time.

"Air New Zealand has responded to calls for a more business-friendly schedule, which is great, and the change also coincides with Destination Rotorua looking to attract Wellington visitors.

"This change is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people over a reasonable period of time and the challenge now is for the community, in particular the business community, to support the new schedule to ensure we keep it.

"This will also strengthen our efforts to encourage Wellingtonians to consider Rotorua as a fantastic holiday destination so it’s come at a good time," Mr Stubbs says.

The announcement is also welcomed by Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chair John McRae who says reinstatement of the flights was a strategic priority for the chamber.

"The business community was seriously affected when it was removed and reinstatement has been a high priority," Mr McRae says. "Our philosophy is about collaborating and working together with Council and the Airport has delivered the result we sought."

Air New Zealand’s Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier says after consistent feedback from the local community, the airline has worked hard to deliver an early morning weekday service from Rotorua to Wellington to enable a full day of business in the capital, returning to Rotorua in the evenings.

"We are pleased we have been able to achieve this for the Rotorua community after working closely with the local chamber, airport, council - and Mayor Steve Chadwick. We are also delighted to add additional weekend capacity on the route which is a reflection of the strong growth we are seeing with Rotorua."

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