Air New Zealand today announced capacity increases between Rotorua and Queenstown via Christchurch with the up-gauging of six services a week to a Boeing 737.

The airline currently operates three ATR services a day between Rotorua and Queenstown via Christchurch.

The planned up-gauge to a 737 on one of the services provides a 27% increase in capacity between Rotorua and Christchurch, and a 14% increase between Christchurch and Queenstown.

The number of seats available each way between Rotorua and Queenstown each week during this period will increase from approximately 1428 to 1818.

Air New Zealand Group General Manager Australasia Bruce Parton said the 737 service would operate every day except Friday over the high season, which runs from November 2012 through until March 2013.

Mr Parton said that in increasing the capacity the airline was responding to feedback from inbound tour operators that there was a demand for groups to fly to Queenstown directly from Rotorua, and vice versa, rather than travelling by road via Auckland.

“Whilst it’s some months away, we wanted to announce this initiative now to inform the industry and allow inbound tour operators to build the new service into their itineraries, which often have long lead-times,” he said.

The 737 service will depart Rotorua in the afternoon and Queenstown in the morning.

Mr Parton said that Air New Zealand last flew 737s out of Rotorua in April 2008 and was pleased that it would be able to reinstate for the peak summer season a jet service that would link two of New Zealand’s most popular tourism destinations.

“Customers booking on the 737 service between Rotorua and Queenstown will also enjoy a reduction in the total time of their journey of approximately half an hour,” he said.

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Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 21 747 320