September 5, 2008

Low-Fare Airlines Offer Real Benefits

I WAS intrigued to read in your paper (August 21) that Queenstown Mayor Clive Geddes believes low-fare airlines like Pacific Blue would have a similar (negative) impact to budget accommodation for Queenstown.

Since Pacific Blue launched New Zealand domestic services in November 2007 the main centre airports have enjoyed increases in domestic passenger numbers of up to 30 percent.

Dunedin Airport recently reported 20 percent domestic passenger growth since Pacific Blue began services on July 1.

By making flying affordable and offering a high-quality product, including an all-jet service and the youngest domestic fleet in the country, Pacific Blue is finding success with Kiwis and overseas visitors alike.

We at Pacific Blue believe as many people as possible should get the chance to enjoy the beauty of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding districts, and would like to point out to Mr Geddes that the less visitors spend on air fares to get to Queenstown, the longer they can afford to stay and the more they'll have available to spend on accommodation, eating out and activities.

While we have no plans at present to fly to Queenstown, we do look forward to one day enabling more New Zealanders and overseas guests to be able to pay a visit, not a fortune, to experience its southern splendours.

We're sure such a decision would be welcomed by the town's business and tourism community and ratepayers.

John Bartlett, chief executive, Pacific Blue Airlines, Christchurch

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