12 Oct 2011

Wellington looking to to extend aircraft routes

10:45 am on 12 October 2011

Wellington International Airport Ltd is looking to a new generation of aircraft to allow it to offer direct flights between Wellington and Asia.

The airport runway is too short for a fully-laden Boeing 767 to safely operate a flight to Singapore.

However, according to the manufacturers' specifications, the runway might be adequate for new lighter aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350, which have more powerful engines and carry less fuel.

Figures issued by the airport's majority owner, Infratil, show Air New Zealand, Qantas, Emirates and Singapore Airlines have 168 of these planes on order.

Infratil executive Tim Brown says currently 270 people per day fly between the capital and Asia, via other centres, and a direct service would be well patronised.

He says if the new aircraft could not use the runway and needed a few metres more to land and take off, the airport would be prepared to consider extending it.