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Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are boosting direct flights between Australia and Queenstown by 8% this ski season to meet expected high demand from Australian skiers.
The increased services are part of the new alliance between Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia, which has seen the two airlines work together over the past year to offer passengers more choice and more convenient schedules for trans-Tasman travel.
The new services announced today will see Queenstown benefit from 13% more seats on Melbourne-Queenstown services, 10% more seats on Sydney-Queenstown services and 3% more seats on Brisbane-Queenstown services.
The additional 6314 seats will take the total number of direct trans-Tasman flights into and out of Queenstown to 18 return trips per week for a total of 243 return flights over the season.
There is a greater spread of days that return flights are available, with Brisbane-Queenstown now operating daily where there were previously no Tuesday or Saturday services. Melbourne services now operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday compared to last season’s Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday services. Sydney goes to double-daily Wednesday-Saturday with one daily service the other three days.
Air New Zealand is also increasing its domestic capacity into Queenstown over the same period with a 68% increase on Wellington-Queenstown (an extra 300 seats per week) and an 18% increase on Auckland-Queenstown (an extra 650 seats per week each way).
Air New Zealand General Manager Australia Cam Wallace says the additional trans-Tasman capacity builds on more than a decade of year-on-year growth.
“Air New Zealand introduced year-round trans-Tasman flights between Sydney and Queenstown in 1998 and to see everyone’s marketing efforts in Australia continuing to build interest in the Southern Lakes district is tremendous. We know that the majority of Australians who are actively considering visiting New Zealand are interested in skiing - so our activities this season will be very much focused on converting these into ski-bums on seats,” he says.
Virgin Australia Group Executive of Alliances Network and Yield Merren McArthur said that the trans-Tasman alliance enabled the two airlines to cater to increasing demand for Queenstown flights.
“As a fly-in fly-out world-class ski destination, Queenstown has proved very popular with Australians looking for a convenient skiing option and competitive package deals. Together, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand now offer 18 return trips per week from Australia, providing travellers with a range of options at great value prices.
”Australians are also using Queenstown as a starting point to explore other parts of New Zealand’s South Island, which helps to support tourism in the country,” Ms McArthur said.
But it’s not just one-way traffic over winter – Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are also catering for those Kiwis looking to take a break in the sunshine with their first international service into Sunshine Coast Airport as part of the trans-Tasman alliance.
The new direct service between Auckland and the Sunshine Coast will operate twice a week on Tuesdays and Sundays on a seasonal basis between 1 July and 18 September to cater to the long tradition of Kiwi travellers heading to Queensland for some winter sun.