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Airports disappointed at Pacific Blue withdrawal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 16 NZPA - New Zealand airport operators today expressed disappointment at Pacific Blue's decision to stop flying domestic routes in this country.

Auckland International Airport Ltd said the company provided it with $2 million a year in aeronautical revenue. But this was just 1.3 percent of the revenue and Pacific Blue's capacity may by picked up by other airlines.

Wellington Airport also said it was disappointed.

"We will be working closely with Pacific Blue to ensure minimal disruption to passengers," said Steve Fitzgerald, Wellington Airport's chief executive.

Pacific Blue currently flies from Wellington to Auckland three times daily and Wellington to Christchurch two times daily, which is around 12 percent of Wellington's air traffic on these routes.

With a reduction in capacity of 12,000 seats, the airport was likely to see load factors increase and could see Air New Zealand and/or Jetstar add to their Wellington capacity to meet passenger demand.

Pacific Blue will remain an important airline in the trans-Tasman market.

Mr Fitzgerald said the withdrawal did not appear to impact the proposed Alliance between Virgin and Air New Zealand.

Auckland Airport chief executive Simon Moutter said New Zealand consumers had enjoyed the benefits of having three domestic airlines competing on main trunk routes.

More New Zealanders than ever before have been travelling by air domestically.

There was a 7.8 percent increase in domestic travellers through Auckland Airport in the year to June 30.

There was enough travel demand and growth potential in the domestic market to provide other airlines with a strong business case for taking up the capacity on main domestic trunk routes left behind by pacific Blue, Mr Moutter said.

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