Flight schedule back to normal this week

23:30, Sep 17 2012

The normal flight schedule for Air New Zealand regional passengers will resume on November 1, the airline says.

The discovery of hairline cracks in Eagle Air planes in August caused flight disruptions for many passengers flying in and out of Blenheim Airport.

The fleet of 18 Beech 1900D aircraft, operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary Eagle Air, was grounded on August 7 for safety reasons when engineers found cracks in the tail section of three planes.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said flights between Blenheim and Auckland and Wellington were returning to normal this week. There were 15 Beech operating from today; the full fleet would be back in service and the normal schedule in place for all airports on November 1.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand this month introduced reduced airfares on many routes to help stimulate regional tourism, and Marlborough passengers are among many reaping the benefits.

Airfares for individual routes were "commercially sensitive", but Air New Zealand has confirmed that the fare reductions on the Auckland-Blenheim route are not confined to lead-in fares.

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Air New Zealand group general manager Australasia Bruce Parton said lead-in airfare reductions followed the airline's cuts to domestic trunk fares and were a direct response to feedback from those who attended a regional tourism forum in Nelson earlier this month.

Marlborough Airport manager Dean Heiford, Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston, Marlborough Chamber of Commerce general manager Brian Dawson and representative Chris Godsiff attended the forum, the first of its kind held by the airline.

Reduced fares for the Auckland-Blenheim route would attract more Aucklanders to holiday in the region, Mrs Johnston said.

The Mirror