The Newcastle Airport team at ATE: Dr Peter Cock, Stephen Crow and Matthew Borger The Newcastle Airport team at ATE: Dr Peter Cock, Stephen Crow and Matthew Borger

NTL-AKL service ‘more than sustainable’

Newcastle Airport has its sights set on a resumption of services to Auckland this year, hopefully for an extended season and probably with a new carrier.

NTL-AKL services were successfully launched for the 2018-19 summer and then showed further growth in the 2019-20 summer before being disrupted by Covid last summer.

Stephen Crowe, executive manager corporate affairs with Newcastle Airport, says the early experience proved a trans Tasman service to and from the region is ‘more than sustainable’ and discussions with airlines are ongoing.

‘Virgin Australia has been on record saying that New Zealand is not necessarily a priority right now, so we are looking at options.’

Crowe says the previous thrice weekly, 13-week seasons saw a 60% to 40% split with the greatest number of travellers heading from the greater Newcastle catchment area to Auckland.

‘We think a 50-50 split is desirable and achievable,’ he says.

NTL CEO Dr Peter Cock, says the city (the seventh largest urban area in Australia) and surrounding areas like Hunter Valley and Port Stephens have plenty to offer New Zealanders. The proximity to Sydney, about two hours’ drive to the south is both a ‘blessing and a curse’ but the trade could encourage clients to spend a few days in a region they are not so familiar with and then visit the larger city after that if they wished.

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