The confirmation that American Airlines, in partnership with Qantas, will restore its New Zealand link, flying daily, non-stop to Dallas Fort Worth between October and March, means five airlines are offering connections from Auckland Airport to eight non-stop destinations across North America over the summer period, says AKL’s general manager aeronautical commercial Scott Tasker.
Auckland Airport is envisaging around 67% of its airline capacity to be back on-stream by December 2022.
Scott Tasker, AKL’s general manager aeronautical, commercial told last week’s virtual TRENZ Hui that by then the airport should have 22 airlines offering direct services to 36 destinations with about 896,000 seats. That compares with 1.2 million seats in March 2019 and represents a steady rise from this month (May 2022), with 16 airlines operating to 28 destinations and offering 360,000 seats.
Auckland Airport’s international passenger capacity is taking flight, with July seeing available seat capacity hit its highest levels since March 2020.
The removal of all quarantine requirements and reopening of borders to visitors from New Zealand’s major tourism destinations has given airlines the confidence to reopen routes, says Scott Tasker, general manager aeronautical commercial.
Evidence over the past 18 months that New Zealanders are keen and willing to travel when they can will encourage airlines to keep faith with the market, delegates at the Tourism Export Council (TEC) NZ conference in New Plymouth heard recently.
Scott Tasker, general manager aeronautical commercial at Auckland Airport, says airlines are aware that New Zealand was a profitable route pre-Covid and could be again. On top of that surveys show that New Zealand is a hugely desirable destination for overseas markets.
However, he also warns that the country will not remain on people’s ‘bucket lists’ forever and that airlines will obviously shift operations to routes where borders open – especially if there is no clear pathway to the future provided by New Zealand authorities.