10 Mar 2015

Regions want better services from Air NZ

1:54 pm on 10 March 2015

Regional mayors affected by Air New Zealand's abandonment of smaller centres want the national carrier to do more to help connect with the national network.

no caption

Photo: RNZ

In November the airline announced an end to flights to and from Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport, saying customer demand couldn't sustain a 50-seat aircraft.

While alternatives have been found for those services, Whakatane's mayor, Tony Bonne, said his council was keen on an "interline agreement" between Air New Zealand and smaller airlines, similar to one the major carrier already has with Air Rarotonga.

"An interline agreement is a seamless operation - you'd go on to the internet and book through Air New Zealand, if you wanted fly to Christchurch from Whakatane the first leg would be with Air Chathams, you'd book your bags in at the airport and they would transferred automatically to the next flight."

"It's where you can book one ticket and it will take you right through."

Far North Mayor John Carter who had been negotiating with Air New Zealand, said the airline was initially reluctant but was considering the issue in a positive way now.

"Because they are taking it seriously rather than just sort of 'take it or leave it', they're going to do quite and in-depth study. But just how quickly, I don't know."

However, Air New Zealand quashed suggestions it was pursuing interline agreements with regional airlines.

Air New Zealand said pursuing interline agreements would present too many challenges.

The issue of how airlines service the smaller centres will be discussed at a meeting of regional mayors in Wellington on Friday.