By JAMES WILKINSON
Queenstown, New Zealand’s hotels have been given a significant boost for the upcoming ski season by the decision from Qantas to launch daily flights from Sydney during peak season.
The Australian airline, which currently operates three flights per week, has also upped services to support demand over the Easter school holidays.
Qantas CEO International Simon Hickey said the additional services would meet increased demand over Queenstown’s busiest periods.
“Qantas will add more than 650 seats each week and the additional services will mean greater flexibility and a premium experience for our customers travelling to Queenstown during the ski season,” he said.
“Our seasonal services reflect the continued popularity of the surrounding ski fields and will represent a boost to the New Zealand tourism industry, particularly as Emirates will codeshare on all the existing and additional services.”
The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments’ General Manager, Mark Rose, told HM the new flights could not come at a better time.
“The direct flights from Australia to Queenstown have enhanced an already strong Australian market and I envisage the new Qantas services to keep the market growing as more and more Australians realise the beauty that is only three hours away,” he said.
Hilton Queenstown and Kawarau Hotel, managed by Hilton’s General Manager, Andrew Nisbet, is equally upbeat.
“An increase in direct flights to Queenstown out of Australia is without doubt a sign of growth for the Otago Region and the New Zealand Tourism Industry,” he told HM.
“Accessibility to this destination automatically translates into a better chance to increase ROI for any dollar the hotel and the region have invested in the Australian market
“The news from Qantas has been well received by the team at Hilton Queenstown and they are indeed excited for a prosperous 2014 Winter Season,” he said.
Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) CEO, Scott Paterson, said the new flights are “very positive news for the region’s tourism”.
“Sydney is an important gateway for us for short haul travel and the new Qantas-Emirates alliance provides even greater reach, making us easily accessible to the world,” he said.
“We know that Queenstown is a very desirable destination for Australians and we’ve seen stellar month-on-month passenger growth on our trans-Tasman routes over the past years.
“The extra capacity over our peak winter months will be particularly welcome and makes us even more attractive to Sydney-siders looking to hop across the Tasman for a winter ski holiday.
“We’ll be working closely with Qantas to maximise this opportunity and to make these daily flights become permanent,” he said.
The amended schedule is:
7 April – 2 May: 5 per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
3 May– 4 June: 3 per week (Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday)
6 June – 02 July: 4 per week (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
4 July – 24 October: Daily
Qantas also operates a weekly Brisbane-Queenstown flight from June 28 to September 27.