Air New Zealand hits record passengers during school holidays

written by Adam Thorn | August 3, 2020
A file image of an ATR 72-600 in Air New Zealand livery. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of an ATR 72-600 in Air New Zealand livery. (Rob Finlayson)

Air New Zealand has announced a record number of Kiwis flew during the school holidays, in another sign domestic aviation across the Tasman is recovering quicker than expected.

The news comes after reports Queenstown ski resorts saw the highest number of visitors in years and the national airline increased flights in July – with Auckland-Queenstown offering even more capacity than in 2019.

The business’ marketing general manager Jeremy O’Brien said, “We’re extremely lucky in New Zealand that we can fly to either Taupo, Christchurch or Queenstown and be so close to an epic adventure at one of our world-class ski fields.

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“The challenge now is to encourage Kiwis to continue to travel domestically, outside of the peak holiday period.”

While interstate travel within Australia has been bruised by borders being closed back down and a fresh lockdown in Victoria, New Zealand appears to be reaping the benefits from all-but eradicating COVID-19 and halting social distancing.

Australian Aviation reported last week that Air New Zealand decided to increase domestic capacity quicker than planned and operate at 70 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels in August.

The airline had targeted running at just 55 per cent but said it was “pleasantly surprised” by demand.

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On Monday, it further attempted to capitalise on the returning confidence by teaming up with Tourism New Zealand on a new campaign encouraging people to hit the slopes this winter.

The second phase of the Do Something New, New Zealand series will run over a month and see Christchurch and Queenstown promoted online.

The business’ inflight magazine, Kia Ora, is also back in seat pockets this week, after pausing publishing during the pandemic.

Despite the positive results, the airline has already cut 4,000 staff with more set to follow them out the door.

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