Norfolk-Auckland air link to stay

Monday April 03, 2017 Written by Published in Regional

NORFOLK ISLAND – When Air New Zealand ends its direct Auckland-Norfolk Island link in May, a company on the island will fill the void.

Norfolk Island Airlines will operate the weekly flight, leasing a Boeing 737 from Nauru Airlines.

The company’s Glen Buffett said Norfolk Islanders want the Auckland link to stay.

“New Zealand and Norfolk Island have long time cultural connections and social connections – so it was definitely a loss when Air New Zealand decided to cease flying.

“However Norfolk Island Airlines are looking to start operations at the end of May and we will fly from Brisbane through to Norfolk and then onto Auckland and then do a run from Auckland to Norfolk and back to Brisbane.

“ So we will be taking up the slack. Initially it will be a weekly service using the Boeing 737.

He said the airliner will be flying under the Norfolk island flag with a leasing agreement with Nauru Airlines to provide the aircraft.

“The government run airline in the last few years also used a leasing agreement with Nauru Airlines to provide the services out from Australia to here.  

Radio New Zealand’s Dateline Pacific posed the question: “If Air New Zealand presumes that there’s not the market for it in Norfolk Island, what makes you think differently?

Buffett responded: “The issue is more to do with the marketing side of things and being a single destination. With a one plane route through the week Air New Zealand was limited in terms of what it could do in terms of marketing.

“The difference between us and Air New Zealand is aircraft type. They are currently flying an A320 out here, which is just too big for a single week run.

“So we are flying the Boeing 737 which are capable of about 120 passengers. So it makes a significant difference in terms of load factors, and having that aircraft there is the potential for us to fly an additional service mid week, which we have certainly got in our planning.

“It is very possible. And that opens up the route to a whole different market and different travel times.”

            - RNZI/PNC

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