October 7, 2008

Cheaper Fares, Better Times Sway Our Fliers

The Waikato Times revealed that international passenger numbers at Hamilton airport have nosedived over the past year. We asked readers why they weren't using the service? Below are a selection of responses:

Paul Smith: It is all about the price of air travel. Why fly out of Hamilton when you can save a couple of hundred dollars by going from Auckland? You can stay a night at a hotel and they will look after your car for up to a fortnight, and take you and pick you up from the airport for $75, and add that on to the savings on the air flights. What it comes down to is that Air New Zealand cannot (or will not) compete with Virgin Blue as Freedom used to. The more you save on air travel, the more you can spend while away.

Helen Trotter: 128 reasons. Also, their parking charges are a rip- off for domestic. I flew out at 10am one day, back at 7pm next: $40, thank you.

Joyce and Danny Roguski: We used to fly to Australia regularly to see family and friends in Melbourne and elsewhere. We always flew from Hamilton. It was very convenient and we preferred the "small airport" friendly atmosphere. Now we must travel to Auckland as there are no flights from Hamilton. The overall cost has increased substantially and once past check-in we are treated only one step above cattle. We have cut back to only two trips a year. What Hamilton needs is a low-cost commuter style airline, along the business model of Kiwi/Freedom Air as Australia is less than four hours away. Perhaps Hamilton airport should invite Ryan Air to set up at the airport.

Rachel Wickens: I choose, mostly, to fly from Auckland because the flights are considerably cheaper. I am also starting to use Auckland for domestic flights as they, too, are cheaper. I live in Hamilton and used to fly Freedom to Australia but since that has stopped I use a cheap airline from Auckland.

Murray Forster: Flight times, plain and simple. Rising at 3am (midnight Brisbane time) to leave Hamilton at 6am leaves you nodding off in the afternoon in Queensland and writing off the day. We take a domestic flight to Auckland about midday, fly out mid-afternoon, and arrive in Brisbane awake, relaxed, and ready for dinner.

Kelvin Beckett: You wonder why we don't use Hamilton airport? The charges are astronomical, both in parking and the $5 (domestic departure) tax. Aren't the landing fees over the top, too, for a regional airport? When will you understand that people are not going to be continually ripped off so you can have poncy offices and unrealistic salaries? We live five minutes' from Hamilton airport and will continue to fly out of Auckland. So close the airport by all means. Property values in the area will soar.

Selina Redding: I travel a lot to Dunedin, my home town, but go from Auckland as the flights are much cheaper, plus I fly Pacific Blue which Hamilton doesn't have. I think it would be good if Pacific Blue did have domestic and international flights from Hamilton - I would use them. I would like to go to Oz, but those flights are too dear. I think Hamilton needs to look at all aspects of the airport, especially when it's only not long been done up.

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