Justin Tighe-Umbers Justin Tighe-Umbers

Airlines keen to restart

Airlines are sitting in ‘pause’ mode and at this time virtually all of the carriers previously servicing this market have indicated they are keen to be back when practically possible, participants in the Tourism Temperature webinar this week heard.

Justin Tighe-Umbers, executive director, Board of Airline Representatives NZ (BARNZ) says flights are ‘sitting in the international slot coordination schedule’ but carriers are waiting to see how border restrictions and other plans develop.

‘We are already getting questions from airlines asking how they can start flying into New Zealand again, some as early as June. That’s even within the existing border restrictions, so there are some positive signs there.’

Tighe-Umbers says BARNZ has coordinated an aviation sector advisory group comprising of airlines and airports to develop a plan on how recovery from the current situation could commence and proceed.

‘For example we are considering what levels two and one would look like for domestic travel within New Zealand. That would put some flesh on the bones around things like social distancing and health screening requirements, how people would get to airports etc.

‘Then we could start to provide a bit of certainty to other sectors on how they can develop their marketing and other plans.’

He points out that in April last year 30 international airlines connected New Zealand with 44 cities directly, representing 740,000 inbound seats. This April three airlines have scheduled regular services to three Pacific and six international destinations, with a 40,000 seat capacity.

‘That’s a 95% reduction in the number of fights – it’s a seismic shock for aviation and the wider tourism sectors.’

 

 

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Justin Tighe-Umbers

 

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