Changes to flight times from Whangarei to Auckland return are disrupting commuters who have raised their concerns with Air New Zealand through local MP Dr Shane Reti.
The Whangarei MP has asked the national carrier to explain the changes made this month and conveyed the frustration of passengers. Those affected most are same-day travellers such as health professionals and businessmen.
Mr Reti also asked for an explanation on delays and cancellations of the last Whangarei to Auckland flight at 6.35pm before the new flight times came into effect this month.
Air New Zealand said there would always be trade-offs as the company was unable to meet the specific needs of travellers in every airport.
Until October 30, Air New Zealand ran four flights each way from Auckland to Whangarei every day except Saturday when there were three flights.
The departure times from Auckland were 10.25am, 12.50pm, 4.30pm and 6.30pm on Monday, while the first flight on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was at 8.45am.
The first flight from Whangarei to Auckland was at 7am daily.
From November 1, the number of flights each way remained the same but departure times changed.
Flights from Auckland depart at 6.05am, 10.05am, 3.45pm, and 7.30pm Monday to Friday and on Sunday.
Whangarei to Auckland departure times are 7.10am, 11.10am, 4.10pm and 7.55pm.
Dr Reti said the new flight timetable has become problematic especially for civil servants and businessmen flying in from Auckland, who ran short of time in Whangarei.
"Doctors and other health professionals who fly in on the 10.05am flight out of Auckland get here at 10.30 and by the time they get to work its 11 or 11.30. They then have three to four hours of work only before catching the 4.10pm flight out of Whangarei.
"If they board the last flight out of Whangarei at 7.55pm, they then can't catch a connecting flight from Auckland to anywhere in the country."
A commuter who did not want to be named said on Tuesday evening last week, she missed her connecting flight in Auckland to Queensland after the Whangarei flight was delayed. She said when she told an Air New Zealand staff she may miss her connecting flight, she was told she would be fine.
"I think we were two minutes late and the plane wouldn't wait for us. We could see it through the window on the other side of the door sitting on the tarmac, so we were put on the next flight. Thankfully there was one".
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said issues with delays to the last flight from Whangarei on a Friday have historically occurred as a flow-on effect of the inbound aircraft waiting in Auckland for customers connecting from other services.
"In building the new schedule we did our best to take into account the preferences of in-bound and out-bound, and we consulted with local leaders when determining the schedule for Whangarei," she said.
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