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Air New Zealand Boosts Capacity on Domestic Routes

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Air New Zealand is boosting capacity on its domestic operations, with more than 9,500 additional seats per week available across its regional network and main jet routes. Key regional capacity increases include:

•Tauranga - Christchurch up 120%
•Invercargill - Wellington up 63%
•New Plymouth - Christchurch up 20%
•Palmerston North - Christchurch up 11.3%
•Palmerston North - Auckland up 1.7%
•Napier - Auckland up 4.5%

"The additional capacity is being introduced as we start to see signs of the anticipated recovery in demand for domestic travel within New Zealand," said Bruce Parton, Group General Manager Australasia.

Air New Zealand is more than doubling the number of flights between Tauranga and Christchurch, from five to eleven return services per week.

"In response to customer feedback the additional flights at peak times facilitate same-day travel for business travellers, enabling them to maximise their time in Christchurch," Mr Parton said.

Direct flights between Invercargill and Wellington will increase from once a day to double daily on weekdays.

"The capacity increase between Invercargill and Wellington is a considerable increase for the region and will benefit leisure and business travellers alike. The additional services mean we are reducing passengers’ journey time by at least 45 minutes each way, as they will not need to transit in Christchurch," said Mr Parton.

The route between New Plymouth and Christchurch is also seeing a considerable increase in capacity with the addition of a Sunday service to the route, enabling greater connectivity for weekend travellers.

Capacity increases on services between Palmerston North and Auckland, Napier and Auckland, and Palmerston North and Christchurch are a result of up-gauging the aircraft used on these routes from 50-seat Bombardier Q300 aircraft to 68-seat ATR aircraft.

Changes are also being made to services between Queenstown and Christchurch, with flight times being adjusted to enable additional connections with trans-Tasman services out of Christchurch. The new flight schedule will also suit Queenstown business travellers, providing them with the ability to spend a full day in Christchurch.

The new flight schedules are effective from early February.

The increases come on top of announcements in the past few weeks of an additional 8% capacity increase for Palmerston North, 5% for New Plymouth and 40% increase in flights for Wanaka.

Air New Zealand last week also announced at its Annual Results it will be increasing domestic jet capacity by 8% progressively from September, the equivalent of adding an additional Boeing 737 aircraft. Among the increases Auckland-Wellington capacity will go up by 9% and Auckland-Christchurch by 10.4%.

Further capacity will also be available with the arrival of the first new A320 aircraft from February next year and will see direct Dunedin-Auckland services increase by 46% from 13 to 19 per week, and Auckland-Queenstown capacity rise by 13.6%.

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