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Air New Zealand to end Auckland-Norfolk Island flights

written by australianaviation.com.au | December 16, 2016

Air New Zealand continues to show that black (ink) is the new black. (Andrew Aley)
An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 at Auckland Airport. (Andrew Aley)

Residents of Norfolk Island will lose air links to New Zealand from May 2017 when Air New Zealand ends nonstop service to Auckland from the Australian external territory.

The airline cited “declining passenger demand from New Zealand” as the reason behind its decision to end the once weekly service between Auckland and Norfolk Island.

“The Auckland-Norfolk Island route is not commercially sustainable so it makes sense to focus our operations out of Australia, where there’s good potential,” Air New Zealand general manager for networks Richard Thomson said in a statement on Friday.

Air New Zealand said it would maintain its once a week flight from Brisbane to Norfolk Island and two times weekly service from Sydney. The frequencies would grow to five flights a week between September and April. All flights are operated with Airbus A320s.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development pays Air New Zealand a subsidy to fly to Norfolk Island, which is located about 900nm off Australia’s east coast in the Pacific Ocean.


The Star Alliance member commenced service to Norfolk Island in March 2012, taking over the route from Norfolk Air.

In January 2016, the federal government said Air New Zealand had been selected as the preferred provider of air services to Norfolk Island following the latest tender process.

Passengers holding tickets for flights between Auckland and Norfolk Island after the the last flight on May 21 2017 would be offered the option of flying via Sydney or Brisbane, receiving a full refund or using the value of their fare towards another Air New Zealand flight.

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Comments (18)

  • Luke


    Maybe their is potential for a low cost option or regional airline option to commence flights to Norfolk Island EX Auckland

  • Graham Cock


    What a sad, sad day for Norfolk Island tourism. In all honesty, I cannot see NZ travelers coming to Norfolk Island via Australia and returning the same way.
    Locals will also think twice before booking a holiday or a family visit to NZ.

  • Steohen Peapell


    We have family living on Norfolk Island and they are NZ born kiwis living there to. Heard the island needs heaps of upgrades done on the road’s etc. That’s not good when the island is run down. The Aussie take over was well needed now the islanders would be better off hopefully. Anyway have a safe and Happy Xmas and New Year to all.

  • Ken Weslake


    This is disturbing news, especially for Norfolk residents who have family connections in NZ. To say nothing of the many potential tourists who will reconsider their options based on the existing 1:30hr direct AKL-NLK flight to what will now be at least 5 hrs plus a stop over. I honestly believe this news will seriously reduce the tourist flow out of NZ to Norfolk – the last thing we need right now

  • Chris


    There isn’t the demand for a dedicated AKL/NLK service for an once a week service, as loads have been averaging 55%. Secondly, Norfolk Island is administered by Australia not by New Zealand, so Air NZ can not recover its operating costs without some of subsidy until the Australian governments wants to subsidies the direct AKL/NLK/AKL service and I don’t see that happening.

  • Mohamed


    A air NZ atr 72 or Jetstar q300 airplane could do the flights in under 2 hours each way
    I have been on both planes overseas for flights around 2 hours
    Air NZ already uses theses on Wellington Dunedin and Hamilton Wellington sectors good old work horses

  • Marc


    Any regional town in Australia is a one stopper to NZ. You can’t expect regular services based on a few hundred people. Norfolk needs to face the facts of reality on many different levels.

  • Wow devastating for those living on Norfolk, operating commercial airline services to and from Norfolk to NZL and Australia is something of a poisoned chalice given the number of operators that have “had a go” over the last 15 years I have had any association with the place. Ironically the only viable direct shipping is via Auckland which is where all Australian cargo is transshipped.

  • random


    Interesting that in both Australia and NZ our major airlines just dump services if the route doesn’t match the larger aircraft types. It appears that there is less inclination to consider new or sustain existing smaller equipment.

    (QantasLink gives QF an out here with B717/F100, but Virgin has preferred to walk away from Embraers altogether, and Air NZ jumps from ATR72 straight to A320).

    The A319 (or A318 even) would probably be about right, and Air NZ probably has more than a couple of routes that struggle with A320 sizing. Given that these types are a common qualification for flying and maintenance then it’s hard to see the disadvantages. If an A320 is overkill, then something smaller than an A320 that gives a good yield must surely be a consideration, rather than just walking away from routes.

  • MP


    I’d love to see one of our innovative regional operators – Airnorth or Jetgo – pick up this Route. both E140 (JetGo) & 170 (Airnorth) should have the range & adequate reserves to make alternate…

  • Anil Kattula


    Air NZ should grab Virgin’s unwanted embraers! They are low time, well maintained aircraft that would be ideal for many of their routes including Norfolk Island. Would also be ideal for routes to Hobart, Canberra,Newcastle etc. ATR72 may not have range to do Auckland – Norfolk due alternate requirements although F27s were used years ago.

  • Christopher


    Wow, how disappointing. They have flown this route forever, usually 3 x week. At one point in the early 1990s, they even had a weekly 737 service from Christchurch.
    It was doomed to fail if maintained at once a week. Hopefully the likes of Air North or Jetsgo give it a look with a more suitable Embraer aircraft operation.

  • Anil Kattula


    Wellcamp – Norfolk – Auckland could be a winner for air north particularly if they carry fresh produce from darling downs to Norfolk. Norfolk needs to import most of their food! Air North already have international approvals as fly Darwin to Dili, East Timor. If scheduled well could have connections to Darwin, cairns and Melbourne at wellcamp. Embraers would be ideal for this route. Gray opportunity going begging here!

  • franz chong


    Before the F27’S,F28’s,737’s and BAE 146’s and this was going back years now we had ex Australian DC4’S WAY PAST THEIR USE BY DATE FROM Qantas servicing Norfolk Island which is about in terms of size half the size of QF’S SMALLEST PLANES NOW which would be 717’s or 737’s.Since then we have seen Ansett,East West and god knows how many other operators come and go from the island to Australia.

  • Geoff cropley


    The writer says in the report that air nz only flies once a week out of brisbane. Last time i looked it flies twice weekly to norfolk, tuesday and saturday. Who’s right?

  • John Maffey


    Air NZ needs to get its act together. Norfolk is a unique destination, a real gem in our back yard and needs all the tourists it can get and now this. How come a monopoly like Air NZ can’t make it work? How much effort was made to build demand? How hard did they push for a subsidy, like they get from Pacific countries such as Tonga, Cook islands and Niue to maintain their direct services? Let’s hope another operator takes the route on. What about a low frills service using a more suitable aircraft? Norfolk Island deserves better from the NZ government majority owned airline.

  • Paul


    Brizzie/Norfolk is twice weekly
    Sydney/Norfolk (also twice weekly) is heavily booked

  • Kevin Comer


    Air NZ should look at growing the Norfolk tourist market rather than cutting a service that will drastically reduce the NZ tourists to Norfolk as well as taking away Norfolk vital direct link to NZ. One way of growing the market would be to introduce Auckland / Norfolk / Sydney on say Sunday, then Sydney / Norfolk / Auckland on say Thursday. This scheduling would potentially grow both NZ and Australia to Norfolk markets while maintaining the Auckland to Norfolk direct service.

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