16 Jan 2008
Domestic passenger volumes grew a significant 16.5% in December reflecting the introduction of domestic services by Pacific Blue in mid November. As was the case for November cannibalisation of the existing market was not evident with the Pacific Blue passengers being additions to the market. Average loadings for the month were slightly below the previous year however this is not unexpected given the over 20% increase in capacity. Year to date, domestic passengers are now 3.9% above the previous year.
Growth in international passenger numbers in December remained modest with total passengers 2.6% above the previous year following a 1.5% decrease in seat capacity. The average airline load factor remained above 80%. Year to date growth in international passengers now stands at 4.6%, with seats having fallen by 4.3%. The continuing high load factors demonstrates the severe capacity constraints existing for Wellington services. Promising comments continue to be made by the airlines but we are yet to see this delivered in terms of flights on the ground. Until this occurs some Wellingtonians will be increasingly forced to travel through Auckland or Christchurch to cross the Tasman, or worse still will not travel at all.
WIAL's construction programme continued in December with a further new aircraft gate brought on line with another new gate scheduled for completion in mid February. The additional gates will allow replacement of two existing aero bridges in February as well as enabling commencement of the international terminal development project. Work remains in progress to review the use of Wellington's apron facilities to ensure short term demands can be met. With all of the airlines making public comment about further expansion of domestic services, the development programme must continue, to ensure this growth can be accommodated.
Progress on other development projects has occurred as follows:
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