11 Dec 2007
Domestic passenger volumes grew a significant 13% in November following the commencement of domestic services by Pacific Blue. As Pacific Blue only commenced services half way through the month the actual growth rate for a full month of operation would be double this. Importantly there is no evidence to date that any cannibalisation of the existing market has occurred with all of 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 15% increase in capacity. Year to date, domestic passengers are now 2.4% above the previous year.
International passenger numbers in November were disappointing with numbers level with the previous year following a 6.4% reduction in seat capacity. The average airline load factor on international services for November remained very high at over 80%. Year to date growth in international passengers now stands at 4.9%, with seats having fallen by 4.7%. The high load factor demonstrates the severe capacity constraints existing for Wellington services. Significant passenger growth simply cannot occur without increases in airline capacity. 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.
Considerable work continued during November to ensure that facilities were ready for Pacific Blue's domestic start up. This work involves the development of further aircraft gates around the Northern Terminal pier with a further two gates to enter operation before the end of January. 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. Work is currently underway to review the use of Wellington's apron facilities to ensure short term demands can be met.
Progress on other development projects has occurred as follows:
© Copyright Infratil