October 9, 2008

Travellers Vent Their Anger at Air NZ’s Plans

With Air New Zealand planning to suspend all but two weekly international flights out of Hamilton, Waikato Times readers have reacted strongly to the national carrier's move. A selection of responses are printed below:

Greg Fletcher: I think it is terrible. Air New Zealand used to be a great airline to fly. It has put profits before anything else. I flew Air New Zealand to Christchurch in September and was disgusted by the service. I fly to Australia often and am sorry to say Air New Zealand would be the last airline I fly with. I either fly Emirates or Qantas as the service is very friendly and nothing is a hassle. I would not be surprised if Air New Zealand is run into the ground. I know a lot of people who would never fly this airline again. It is a shame.

Anonymous: I would not be surprised if this has been the plan all along, from bringing down Kiwi Air, to closing down Freedom Air, and I believe soon they won't even provide the Brisbane flights. Air New Zealand needs to know that they will lose customers over this. My partner and I had been using them to fly into Hamilton up to three times a year from Coolangatta (and Freedom Air before Air New Zealand). Now I have to go through Auckland I will not use them. I may as well use a cheaper airline who provides the service from Brisbane to Auckland, and to be honest, even if they are the cheapest on this route I won't book with them anymore. Come on Hamilton, and all users of the fantastic Hamilton airport, email Air New Zealand if you feel the same way, let them know just how many customers they will lose.

Denise Hall: I find this crazy. It was convenient to go from Hamilton, easy to get to, no parking hassles, could handle the crazy hours. Guess I'll be going with Pacific Blue from now on up in Auckland, unless they decide to move into Hamilton. At least they are cheap. Do you really need a meal and a movie between New Zealand and Oz on a three-hour flight?

Larry Nasmith: Why I don't fly from Hamilton: (1) They dropped Freedom Air. (2) Even if they now give extra service, (meals etc) they are more expensive and have lost a type of customer. (3) No choice of airline such as Virgin Blue. (4) So no competition. (5) Air NZ control it, withdrew Melbourne and Fiji. (6) Travel agents don't promote it. Why? (7) Flights cheaper out of Auckland. Why? (8) Better buzz at Auckland Airport. (9) Parking became dearer at Hamilton, until recently. (10) Managers should be managing instead of moaning. Get off their backsides and attract other airlines and more customers or resign.

Jenny Cowan: I and no doubt countless other people who are in reasonable proximity to Hamilton Airport listened to the nonsensical announcement of suspending flights out of Hamilton. Is that announcement the result of in-depth research? People have used Hamilton Airport for countless years. We do not like bypassing Hamilton airport at all. Air New Zealand themselves are pricing our Hamilton fares out of the market. They are too hungry. I tried to find two adult fares from Gold Coast in January 2009, and what is available is $300 dearer than a similar time in Auckland. Add up the return savings. How could the wonderful improvements and huge costs recently outlaid at the airport be achieved on this backward move? Is there consultation between parties? We would love to hear comment from Air NZ Tasman Pacific manager Glen Sowry. I don't understand this logic.

Murray Forster: Time to bring in someone like Pacific Blue and see if they can do better. Waikato has the fourth largest regional population with about 400,000 people so there must be demand there. But it needs to be met with the right combination of flight times, flight prices, flight frequency and plane sizes. Freedom and subsequently Air New Zealand seem to have failed at this.

G & M Redshaw: Why stop the flights to Aussie? Hamilton is the gateway to the North Island of New Zealand. Aussies do not want to go to Auckland as it is just like Sydney and most Aussies just want to go on holiday, not visit a city with shops, etc. Freedom ran a great successful airline yet when Air New Zealand took over the price went up and the service went down. So bring back Ewan Wilson with Kiwi. Perhaps Virgin will take up the slack and show Air New Zealand how it should be run. They could still have run the flights only reducing both the number and pricing. The writing was on the wall when the airbridges went to Auckland.


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