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Tickets will go on sale next month for a new flight service between Wānaka and Christchurch, following successful discussions between Sounds Air, Christchurch Airport and Queenstown Airport Corporation, which manages Wānaka Airport.
Sounds Air CEO Andrew Crawford said tickets would be on sale from mid-September, with flights to commence from 2 November 2020.
“This is fantastic news, not just for Sounds Air, but for the communities of Wānaka and Christchurch who have been so supportive of this proposed service. The survey we commissioned in June this year showed 90 percent support from the 3,600 respondents, which shows us that we have a ready market for this service.
“We are planning to fly every day of the week with 12 return flights a week at this stage, using our turbo-prop Pilatus PC12 aircraft. This aircraft is ideal for an airport like Wānaka and will require no additional infrastructure to be built there. It has a comfortable, pressurised cabin that will be able to take up to nine passengers at a time on the 45 minute journey between Wānaka and Christchurch Airports.
“The November start date allows for the Queenstown Airport Corporation to seek the necessary approvals from its majority shareholder, Queenstown Lakes District Council, through the submission of its revised Statement of Intent, while also allowing us to help to get people and businesses moving at a time when this is most needed thanks to the impact that COVID-19 is having on tourism and business. The regional connectivity that this flight service will bring will enable locals to travel more easily, support domestic tourism, aid local business recovery and improve access to health services,” Mr Crawford said.
“We want to thank everyone who has played a part in getting this proposal off the ground, including our key partners at Christchurch Airport and Queenstown Airport Corporation.”
Additional stakeholder comments:
Colin Keel, Chief Executive of the Queenstown Airport Corporation:
“We are pleased to be working together with Sounds Air on their proposal to introduce scheduled services between Wānaka and Christchurch before the end of the year. It has also been great to see the positive local community response to the proposal. We are mindful of the current commitment we’ve made to our majority shareholder regarding the introduction of scheduled services at Wānaka Airport, and look forward to welcoming Sounds Air to the airport community when the necessary approvals are in place.”
Justin Watson, Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer at Christchurch Airport:
“The Sounds Air service between Christchurch and Wānaka is a reflection of the popularity of both places. We know lots of Christchurch residents own and regularly visit property in Wānaka, while a lot of Wānaka residents travel frequently through here for business. This service will assist both those groups, as well as many others.”
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor, Jim Boult, added his support for the new service as a positive contributor to the district’s recovery from the economic effects of COVID-19:
“The Upper Clutha has backed the introduction of this service and I sincerely hope it will help underpin and strengthen business connections for the entrepreneurial and innovative community of Wānaka with Christchurch, and further afield.”
Joanna Norris, CEO of ChristchurchNZ:
“Additional air service options are good for both our residents and our visitors, who are drawn to the South Island for its beauty and lifestyle, and keen to travel to locations across the island. Great air and road connectivity also supports our businesses and the new Sounds Air routes add to this mix.”
For further information, contact Juliet Calder on 027 658 5438; firstname.lastname@example.org