27 Jul 2011

Ash cloud benefit for Air New Zealand

8:20 pm on 27 July 2011

The ash cloud from Chile has had a silver lining for Air New Zealand, which picked up passengers from grounded rivals last month.

The national carrier says trans-Tasman patronage rose 13%, after it put on extra flights, while domestic passenger numbers rose 3%.

Its main rival, Jetstar, did not fly when the ash cloud passed over Australasia in June, but Air New Zealand did, altering its course or flying at lower heights.

However, fewer people are travelling from North America, Britain, and Japan, with Air New Zealand cutting flights to and from these destinations.

The ash cloud did adversely affect the country's largest airport.

Auckland International Airport says international patronage rose 0.5% in June, compared with the same period a year earlier, but fewer people travelled from Australia.

Domestic passenger figures fell 8% due to cancellations from the ash cloud disruption.

Fewer planes also flew in and out of the airport.