Air New Zealand will add an extra 7,300 seats to its domestic network over the Waitangi Day weekend of 6–7 February.
The extra seats will come as a result of ‘upgauging’ flights from ATRs to A320s for some ports, as well as adding 76 new one-way flights.
Boosted routes include those to and from Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Kerikeri, Napier, Nelson, Tauranga, Wellington, Whangarei and Queenstown.
In particular, 1,110 extra seats will be added to Auckland-Kerikeri and Auckland-Whangarei alone.
Waitangi Day is New Zealand’s national day and marks the founding of the country and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Air New Zealand chief customer officer Leanne Geraghty said, “We continue to see strong demand across our domestic network and it’s fantastic to be able to put on additional flying to our regions – particularly to Kerikeri and Whangarei.”
Last year, Australian Aviation reported how Air New Zealand similarly switched many of its smaller A320s with larger A321s during the Christmas period in order to increase capacity.
The upgrades took place from Monday, 7 December until the end of December and meant the airline added 16,000 seats.
In particular, 80 per cent of Auckland-Wellington services and 25 per cent of Auckland-Christchurch services were operated by the larger A321 with 214 seats, compared with the A320’s 171.
Overall, Air New Zealand operated 2,600 flights in the week before Christmas carrying 170,000 customers in total.
Despite an impressive domestic recovery, the airline said this month it would continue to maintain a minimal international schedule through to 30 June 2021 despite hope vaccines could end the COVID crisis sooner.
The business said low demand and ongoing travel restrictions were behind the decision that includes flying to LA just twice a week, compared with five times a week in May 2020.