02 May 2015
Sounds Air Pulls the Plug on Wanganui
Sounds Air's service between Wanganui and Wellington has been cancelled for lack of passengers. The last flights will be on May 15. The airline took over the service when Air New Zealand pulled out in September 2013. Picton-based Sounds Air began the run on January 21 last year with a cheapest one-way adult ticket of $125 and two return flights daily to Wellington. Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford said in a press release that despite marketing efforts to promote the service, it has not been sustainable. Customers with pre-purchased Sounds Air flights will be fully refunded. "We have done what we can to keep this service running locally but in any location around the world where someone can drive to a main city in less than three hours, air link services seem to struggle. "Despite altering our flight times to suit more people and our competitive pricing, we're running at a loss." Mayor Annette Main says while the announcement is disappointing, it is understandable that Sounds Air has made the decision. "I know this wasn't an easy decision for Sounds Air to make. They have been a very supportive and important business in our community and they have allowed local people to easily travel to Wellington, mostly for business needs. Sadly though, the service has not been supported as well as it could have been. "The Wanganui District Council is still interested in investigating other flight options to Wellington in the near future." A would-be passenger told the Chronicle it was a shame to lose the service but understandable if the patronage wasn't there. She found out the service was being cut when she tried to book a flight between Wanganui and Blenheim via Wellington online but was unable to. "It didn't say anything and eventually I had to ring them to find out it had been cancelled ... I was a bit surprised the info wasn't on the website." She said flying out of Wanganui to Wellington had been "killed" by Air New Zealand flight times for its earlier service which got people into Wellington at 12.30pm with a return flight at 3pm. "It was pointless. People just got used to flying out of Palmerston North. And that affects our airport, and the city, apart from losing the connections to Wellington and the South Island."
Posted by Steve L at 4:46 PM