Editorial: Do what it takes for trans-Tasman flights

WARWICK RASMUSSEN
Last updated 12:00 17/01/2013

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OPINION: Manawatu has been teased in the past when it comes to trans-Tasman flights out of and into Palmerston North.

So, when fresh talk of firing up a link to Australia was raised this week, you would understand if there was some scepticism from travellers and businesses.

Even with that in mind, local and regional councils and airport management need to do whatever it takes to bring in an international carrier.

They have to work smart and create an environment - politically and financially - where an airline wants to add Palmerston North to its flight routes.

It has proven difficult to retain some of the bigger-name airlines, so the targets need to be budget-level carriers.

But much more than that is needed. The problem with provincial international routes is the level of support.

Manawatu travellers and businesses need to actually use the service.

On the other side of the ditch a lot of work will have to be done in making our airport a viable option for Aussie travellers, particularly over winter months.

Manawatu's proximity to outdoor pursuits areas, such as the Ruapehu skifields, really needs to be pushed hard. In Australian terms it is a very short drive to the snow from here.

International flights would give the region a morale boost and would allow people to connect to longer international flights, instead of relying so heavily on Wellington International Airport.

Having to drive two hours each way and paying exorbitant parking fees there add unnecessary cost, time and stress.

The region should not expect, and will not receive, any favours from other regions or airports. The latter are all businesses which see any other airport as a direct threat.

Securing international flights comes down to creating that attractive business environment for airlines to survive and flourish, as well as a regular and stable customer base.

No stone should be left unturned when it comes to trying to make it all a reality.

ONE MORE THING:

He may have been a divisive character in his prime, but there's no doubting that Paul Holmes is deserving of his knighthood.

Over decades he built up his name and reputation to the point where he was known simply by his surname and was a household name throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s.

People may disagree about his investiture, at his Hawke's Bay home yesterday, but if anyone in journalism or broadcasting deserved it in New Zealand, it's him.

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- Manawatu Standard

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