Air survey finds travelers departure is Dunedin or Queenstown - not Invercargill

An online survey has found 43 per cent of people have chosen airports other than Invercargill Airport.
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ

An online survey has found 43 per cent of people have chosen airports other than Invercargill Airport.

People are avoiding flights from Invercargill Airport because of price and availability, survey findings say. 

An online survey of 651 people found 43 per cent departed from Queenstown and Dunedin - instead of Invercargill. 

The survey gathered information on travel frequency, departure airport, travel times, and experiences with cancellations from Invercargill Airport.

The survey was conducted by Venture Southland and Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie, who said it showed air travel failed local demand.

Invercargill Airport chairman Tommy Foggo said as Invercargill Airport only had service from Air New Zealand, that may affect flight decisions. 

"We've got a beautiful airport and brand new facility. It comes down to having competition in Dunedin and Queenstown." 

Foggo said he was not aware of any near changes to Air New Zealand's service to Invercargill Airport for cheaper or more frequent flights. 

The total number of return flights taken by respondents is estimated at 6835. Of this, 43 per cent were flights that departed from other airports, such as Queenstown, at 61 per cent and Dunedin, at 36 per cent. 

Price and the availability of connecting flights were the most common factors when respondents were choosing departing airports, findings say. 

Cheaper airfares, airline competition, adjusting travel schedules and direct flights to Auckland and Australia could improve local air travel, survey suggestions say. 

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Results showed 29 per cent of respondents experienced flight cancellations in the last two years. 

The survey would act as a test to find key challenges and air travel opportunities. It would underpin a detailed investigation into Invercargill air travel, which will be conducted by Impact Consulting.

The information would be used to create alternative air travel business models and advocate for better air travel services.

Venture Southland general manager Stephen Canny welcomed the further research by Impact Consulting.

"Better information makes our case to change air travel services stronger and this survey is a firm base for more in-depth research," he said. 

"A principal way this will be achieved is by making Invercargill more accessible through the development of our air travel services." 

Dowie and Canny planned to liaise with Air New Zealand with their findings.

 - Stuff

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