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Air New Zealand Increases Capacity to Christchurch

Air New Zealand will be increasing the passenger-carrying capacity it has committed to Christchurch in a series of…

Air New Zealand<.> will be increasing the passenger-carrying capacity it has committed to Christchurch in a series of moves between now and December.

Air New Zealand Managing Director Ralph Norris says he is delighted that the Board has approved a series of changes to improve the airline`s service to Christchurch and the broader South Island.

A 122-seat Boeing 737-300 will enter service in July 2002 to operate three return services per day between Auckland – Christchurch, replacing a Boeing B767-200, which is being retired from the Air New Zealand fleet. Air New Zealand expects to acquire the new Boeing on an operating lease in a move that will increase the size of its 737-300 fleet from 10 to 11 aircraft.

A new 66-seat ATR72-500 turboprop will replace the last leased BAe146 jet aircraft, which is being returned to its owners in June. The purchase of the new ATR will increase the size of the Mount Cook ATR fleet from eight to nine aircraft.

The new ATR72-500 will enter service in December 2002 to fly daily return services between Christchurch – Queenstown, Christchurch – Rotorua, and Christchurch – Dunedin. Between June and December, Air New Zealand will temporarily lease one ATR72-200 (also 66 seats) to fly these routes.

We decided to replace the BAe146 and the B767-200 when they went off-lease with newer, more efficient aircraft to maintain the frequency of our services to Christchurch, Mr Norris said.

In addition, we have made arrangements for another Boeing 767-300 to operate a six-day a week service between Auckland and Christchurch to connect with our international passenger services from Singapore and Hong Kong to Auckland over the peak season from November through to the end of March next year. This aircraft will also provide significant cargo capacity between Christchurch and Auckland and connectivity with 43 international flights during the week.

As a result of these changes, and other steps we are taking, we will soon be flying 5% more seats in and out of Christchurch each day than we were at the same time last year – and that should be seen as a signal of our continuing commitment to the South, he said.

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