24 August 2017
Scott O’Donnell, Chair of the Southland Air New Zealand Partnership working group, said:
“The survey results are unsurprising. We accept Invercargill is some distance from the main trunk route, has a relatively small population, and the relatively close proximity of Queenstown and Dunedin mean some people do choose to drive to these airports. Ticket prices and direct connectivity with other regions all influence the decisions Southlanders make when deciding where they will depart from or arrive at.
“Air New Zealand is the only commercial airline flying into Invercargill and a key partner for the region so we need to work together to seek to ensure Southland is well-connected to other parts of the country and that those connections allow us to easily transit to international flights.
“As part of this relationship, the airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which is focused on working collaboratively on real initiatives to stimulate demand, particularly around attracting additional domestic and international visitors to Southland.
“We have been working closely with Air New Zealand on exploring ways of ensuring Southland is more competitive when bidding to host events in the conferences and incentives market. Airline ticket price is only one part of this complex equation
“There has already been some success with the leisure market and this was demonstrated by Air New Zealand providing 520 Charter seats for this year’s Bluff Oyster Festival.
“The priority is to grow the demand into and out of Invercargill so Air New Zealand can have the confidence to boost additional capacity and flights on our routes.
“Air New Zealand is also assisting with the development of the Southland Story by providing valuable support and critical market insights to inform our strategic direction for targeted visitor growth.
“Greater regional dispersal of international visitors represents a significant opportunity for Southland with pressure on key tourist destinations like Queenstown. We will continue to work with Air New Zealand to realise this potential.”