17 Mar 2008
February continued to show that the public is taking advantage of the enhanced domestic market competition with domestic passengers 21% above the previous year. While Pacific Blue has been the catalyst for the increase the competitive response from the established airlines is also generating significant passenger growth. Available domestic capacity increased by 28% from the previous year. Average aircraft loadings reduced by 4.5% from the previous February however the market average of 72.5% remains strong. Year to date, domestic passengers are now 7.4% above the previous year following the substantial growth in recent months.
The capacity constraints in the international market were not alleviated in February. Growth in international passenger numbers for February was 6.8% above the previous year with seat capacity marginally increased by 3% (a leap year benefit!). The average airline load factor continued to exceed 80%. Our message remains unchanged in that until more capacity is offered many Wellingtonians will be forced to travel through Auckland or Christchurch to cross the Tasman, or may not travel at all. Year to date growth in international passengers now stands at 4.5%, with seats having fallen by 3.3%.
WIAL announced details of "The Rock" design for the international terminal expansion with construction to commence in the very near future. The design has created a lot of comment, both supportive and not, and we are pleased that the public has been motivated to form opinions and express their views. Comments and enquiries have been received from people in a number of other countries.
WIAL's construction programme continued during February. A further new aircraft gate is shortly to be brought on line and two existing air bridges will also be replaced in March/April. 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.
Works continue on WIAL's North runway end safety enhancement to meet increased international safety requirements. The works will be completed by mid 2008.
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