Rotorua Airport will get a 7 per cent increase in capacity from Air New Zealand as a result of schedule changes about to be implemented by the airline.

The changes include a 25 per cent increase in capacity on the Auckland-Rotorua route, an increase of up to 20 per cent on the Rotorua-Christchurch route, and improved connectivity between Rotorua and Queenstown, as well as Dunedin and Invercargill.

The increased capacity and connectivity will predominantly come from additional flights on the Auckland and Christchurch routes.

The changes will also see an improvement in connectivity with Queenstown, with an increase from two to five flights daily from the end of October.


Rotorua Airport chief executive Nicole Brewer said the changes were extremely positive for the Rotorua community, economy and tourism sector, and were a reflection of increased patronage and support from local travellers and visitors, and a strong relationship with Air New Zealand.

"These changes firmly support our growing tourism industry, our local business community and our goal to achieve greater connectivity with Queenstown, which is a critical tourism route for Rotorua," she said.

"The improved capacity and additional flights to and from Christchurch are particularly important, as good connectivity with the South Island is essential for international visitors to Rotorua."

Ms Brewer said the new schedule would provide improved choice for travellers, as well as better fare availability.

"Furthermore, the changes mean that a 68 seat ATR aircraft will overnight in Rotorua and provide an early morning flight to Christchurch, returning in the evening. This will deliver an improved service for southbound passengers currently travelling via Wellington.

"These changes also reinforce Air New Zealand's commitment to Rotorua and, if demand is demonstrated and proven, additional capacity will be provided. At the same time, if demand drops, then it is likely we will see a corresponding change in capacity."

But, Air New Zealand's new schedule will see a change in services on the Rotorua-Wellington route, with two fewer flights a week and a change in departure times.

Ms Brewer said the route had been under-performing for some time, and the schedule changes were designed to lift performance, and consequently, sustainability of the route.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the changes were "great for inbound and international visitors in a growing tourism market".

"We are certainly making good progress for our wanted north-south link, but recognise that the changes to Wellington-Rotorua flights, from October, will not meet the needs of all travellers and will be watching the situation closely."

The flight changes will be available for booking from next week, for travel from October 30.