Airline values Timaru service

20:17, Jun 18 2012

Eagle Air is "totally committed" to its Timaru air service and has not cancelled Timaru flights to accommodate other services.

That was the message yesterday to Timaru Mayor Janie Annear from Eagle Air's general manager, Carrie Hurihanganui.

Mrs Annear has contacted Mrs Hurihanganui over the number of flights in and out of Timaru that have been cancelled in recent months.

More than 10 per cent of scheduled flights since April 1 have been cancelled.

Mrs Hurihanganui said that several of those cancellations were weather-related, although four flights were cancelled over Queen's Birthday weekend and another two were cancelled last week due to aircraft not being available because of maintenance concerns.

Because of the frequency with which flights have been cancelled, Mrs Annear has begun flying to meetings and functions the day before to ensure that she gets to them on time.

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Mrs Hurihanganui assured Mrs Annear that aircraft were not assigned to specific routes. It was not a case of Timaru's flights being cancelled when an aircraft, which usually serviced another centre, required maintenance. The company flew to 22 destinations.

As to when Timaru would be serviced by a larger aircraft, Mrs Hurihanganui said the company would start looking at that once existing flights were consistently full.

But Mrs Annear said that was not imminent. "We need to use the service to get a better service. That can be difficult when services are cancelled."

Mrs Hurihanganui said she was not happy with the number of services being cancelled and the company was looking at matters, including maintenance schedules. She indicated she could have some solutions to the cancelled flights, which she would discuss with Aoraki Development Business and Tourism, South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce and council representatives, when she visits Timaru this week.

She said she was happy to hear from Mrs Annear if she had any further concerns about the Timaru flights, an offer Mrs Annear said she would take up.

The Timaru Herald