Air NZ keeps early morning flights from north


Air New Zealand will maintain its early morning departures from Kerikeri and Whangarei following backlash from the business people and politicians who use the commuter flights.

From October 30, the first plane of the day for Auckland - currently 6.55am - would leave Kerikeri at 6am, not 9.15am as proposed in May.

Whangarei's current 7am service would leave 10 minutes later, not at 7.55am as floated in the same announcement.

But Northland MP Winston Peters said the Kerikeri flight was now "way too inconvenient".

"The airline has failed to take into account that many passengers have to travel from afar to get to the airport," he said.

However Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti, who had lobbied Air NZ to retain a flight that reached Auckland by 8.30am, said he was pleased with the outcome.

Dr Reti said numerous people and groups including the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor's office and Northland Inc had contacted him about the issue.

"It would have increased the costs on Northland-based business travellers with following-day business in other parts of New Zealand other than Auckland. This is because they'd need to travel to Auckland a day earlier and pay for accommodation in Auckland overnight in order to catch early flights out of Auckland to their ultimate destination - I couldn't accept that without putting up a strong campaign in opposition," Dr Reti said.

Earlier this year the airline introduced a revised domestic schedule, taking effect progressively throughout 2016.

Air NZ general manager of networks Richard Thomson said the schedules had been generally well received.

- Northern Advocate

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