3 Jun 2009

Pacific Blue plans trans-Tasman flights from Hamilton

8:46 pm on 3 June 2009

Pacific Blue Airlines says its decision to launch trans-Tasman flights from Hamilton is an opportunity to tap into the regional tourism market.

The airline will fly six services to Australia each week from 1 September - three to Sydney and three to Brisbane.

Air New Zealand stopped offering international services from Hamilton on 25 April, saying it was not sustainable.

Pacific Blue acting chief executive Peter Morgan says that even in the recession, the airline has been proactive in looking for new opportunities.

Mr Morgan says opening another tourist gateway to New Zealand will be good for the economy.

Hamilton Airport chief executive Chris Doak is confident the region will support the low-cost airline and says the flights are likely to generate about $50 million for the local economy.

Mr Doak says the airport has been operating international flights for 15 years and is well prepared for the new service.

He says the airline is not ruling out operating domestic services from Hamilton at some stage.

Air New Zealand says it is not making any comment on Pacific Blue's plans.