16 Apr 2008
Passenger numbers in March continued to show the benefits of the competitive domestic market following Pacific Blue's domestic start up in November 2007. March domestic passengers were 17% above the previous year. The established airlines continue to respond to the Pacific Blue challenge with reduced fares and improved service offerings. Available domestic capacity increased by 23% from the previous year.
Average aircraft loadings reduced by 3.5% from the previous March. However, the market average of 74.1% remains strong for the domestic market. Total domestic passengers for WIAL's financial year ended March 2008 were 8.6% above the previous year. The capacity constraints in the international market continued to be evident in March. Growth in international passenger numbers for March was 9.1% above the previous year despite seat capacity falling by 2%. The average airline load factor again exceeded 80%. It remains evident that until more capacity is offered many Wellingtonians will be forced to travel through Auckland or Christchurch to cross the Tasman, or not travel at all. March year growth in international passengers was 4.9%, with seats having fallen by 3.2%. Average seat loads were 79% across the whole year compared to 72% the previous year. Of most critical concern to WIAL is that despite the existing lack of capacity further reductions have been announced in Trans Tasman services from Wellington, exacerbating the challenges for Wellingtonians to cross the Tasman – clearly, this approach is not sustainable.
WIAL continues to work on site preparation works to enable construction of "The Rock" international terminal expansion. WIAL's construction programme continued during March with the additional new aircraft gate brought into operation during the month. The first of two of the older aerobridges has been replaced and the new bridge is in operation. A second bridge is to be replaced in April.
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