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Champagne corks to pop for Pacific Blue

Press Release – Waikato Regional Airport Limited

Champagne corks will be popping at Hamilton International Airport this afternoon (Monday, August 31) when Pacific Blue’s Boeing 737-800 lands for the first time. And even more corks will be popping from 6am tomorrow (Tuesday, September 1) when …

CHAMPAGNE CORKS POP AT AIRPORT

Champagne corks will be popping at Hamilton International Airport this afternoon (Monday, August 31) when Pacific Blue’s Boeing 737-800 lands for the first time.

And even more corks will be popping from 6am tomorrow (Tuesday, September 1) when passengers arrive to celebrate with bubbly before catching the first flight to Sydney just two hours later.

This afternoon’s repositioning flight from Auckland sees the Pacific Blue aircraft take a slightly longer route by flying over Tauranga city around 4pm, before landing in Hamilton about 4.30pm.

Chief executive of Hamilton International Airport, Chris Doak said: ”It’s fantastic to see the Pacific Blue plane in local skies.

“The fly-over brings the Pacific Blue brand to the people of the region. While they can’t touch it, they can see and hear that the new 737-800 is here.”

Onboard will be regional Mayors Bob Simcock (Hamilton), Hugh Vercoe (Matamata-Piako), Alan Livingston (Waipa), Dale Williams (Otorohanga), Peter Harris (Waikato) and Tauranga Mayor, Stuart Crosby.

Joining the Pacific Blue management team on the flight will be airport directors John Birch and Alistair Calder and Mr Doak.

More than 100 business, aviation, community, travel and tourism industry representatives will welcome the aircraft.

Tomorrow more than 130 passengers will fly out to Sydney at 8am after a champagne celebration in the departure lounge.

Among the departing passengers will be airport chairman Jerry Rickman, who will be joined by key journalists and travel agents from around the region to showcase the Pacific Blue experience from Hamilton and the best of what Sydney has to offer.

As Mr Rickman says, “It is a great day for the airport and the region.

“Pacific Blue is the right airline model for this catchment.

“The airport specifically went out to attract a low cost operator into the region because that’s what the region said it wanted.

“Now it’s up to regional travellers flying to Australia and beyond to support and use Pacific Blue,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of council shareholders in the airport, Waipa Mayor Livingston says the resumption of transtasman flights from Hamilton is a major coup for the region, particularly with the support of Tauranga city and Bay of Plenty.

“Pacific Blue deserves every success given their commitment to our region, and we should show our commitment by using their services when we can,” he said.

“We are confident that the 100,000 passengers who have flown every year for the past 10 years on transtasman flights from Hamilton will continue with their allegiance to Pacific Blue,” he said.

The decision by the airline to offer competitively priced flights, together with free parking offered by the airport and not having to drive to Auckland, makes transtasman travel from Hamilton even more compelling than previously.

Mr Livingston said Pacific Blue added further value by offering flights to other Australian destinations from Sydney and Brisbane through its existing network.

The airline’s ability to fly beyond Australia to destinations such as Bali and Vanuatu, and to Los Angeles made travel connections easier and more convenient.

Mr Livingston said Pacific Blue’s frequent flier rewards programme, Velocity, also applied to flights on parent company, Virgin Airlines, which would prove attractive to both business and regular travellers.

“Our biggest challenge now is to encourage travellers from the region to use Pacific Blue instead of flying out of Auckland,” he said.

Mr Doak said bookings for the flights from Australians travelling to Hamilton on Pacific Blue flights were “encouraging and building.”

“Historically, we have been a solid outbound market but inbound bookings as a percentage of ticket sales are better than we have seen before from other carriers,” he said.

What Hamilton, the Waikato and the Central North Island had to offer would appeal to a wide range of Australians with destinations such as the Raglan coast, Waitomo Caves, night life in Hamilton, beaches at Tauranga and Mt Maunganui, and Taupo for fishing, or Tongariro National Park for skiing.

“We are focussed on linking existing international calibre tourism products and helping develop new ones.

“In time, eco-tourism and promoting the significance of our natural resources will become even more important for this region,” he said.

Pacific Blue’s first flight to Brisbane takes off at 7.15am on Saturday, September 5, with around 140 passengers onboard.

ENDS

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