AN Air New Zealand representative has responded to the findings of a Southland air travel survey, saying the airline’s focus is on increasing demand for travel to and from Invercargill.
“We want to continue to drive demand for Southland so that Invercargill Airport remains a viable option for travellers and are continuing to work with stakeholders to deliver on the Southland Regional Development Strategy,” Air NZ regional affairs manager Ian Collier said.
The findings of a preliminary online survey conducted by Venture Southland and Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie was reported in the Southland Express two weeks ago.
The survey, which attracted 651 responses, was designed to gain insight into the issues and opportunities associated with air travel to and from the Invercargill Airport.
It found a significant number of passengers chose to travel to Queenstown and Dunedin airports to board flights instead of utilising Invercargill Airport, with the price and availability of connecting flights among the most common factors they considered when deciding what airport to depart from.
“With the Otago and Southland regions served by three airports, it’s natural that our customers may choose to access services from various ports within driving distance depending on their needs,” Mr Collier said.
The best way to grow air services into Invercargill was to focus on increasing demand for travel to and from the city, he said.
During the past two years, Air New Zealand had increased capacity and lowered fares into Invercargill and had been working closely with local stakeholders to promote and encourage tourism to Southland, he said.
Last month, Air New Zealand supported and promoted the Bluff Oyster & Food Festival and the Southland region by running a seven-page cover story in its monthly inflight magazine KiaOra and putting on three charter flights from Auckland and Wellington to Invercargill for 520 passengers who attended the festival and visited other Southland attractions.
Mr Collier said Air New Zealand had not been advised of the survey being issued in Southland, but it had since received the findings and would now evaluate them.
More about the findings of a preliminary online survey read here.