Here's The Press:
Air New Zealand is pulling its last remaining long haul flights from Christchurch, cancelling direct seasonal flights to Tokyo.If Townsend believes those kinds of numbers, he should be asking Council to provide a special levy on businesses that benefit from those flights to subsidise continued routings - not asking Air NZ to turn into a regional development agency.
After questions from Fairfax Media on Monday night, the airline began contacting the industry warning it of plans to end the flights, which currently operate over the summer months from Christchurch to Narita International Airport.
It later confirmed that the flights would not be operated next summer, saying it was putting on more flights from Tokyo to Auckland in response to research which said consumers had "no clear preference to fly into Christchurch".
"While we accept this decision is disappointing for Christchurch tourism stakeholders, the impact on the total number of seats the airline will operate into Christchurch is minimal," Air NZ said in a statement.
...Peter Townsend, chief executive of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, said Christchurch needed airport links to Asia both to cater to freight demands and bring in tourists to travel throughout the region.
"Air New Zealand need to consider the overall economic impact of their decisions. This isn't just about plane landings or passenger numbers into a particular airport, it's about the economic benefit that accrues from having direct international linkages into the South Island and into the regions of the South Island consequently," he said.
In 2010 a report commissioned for Christchurch Airport by Berl Economics estimated that direct flights from Singapore to the city created more than 2100 full time jobs and added $243.7 million in output to the region.
The continued decline in long-haul traffic into Christchurch must surely be giving Wellington Council second thoughts about expensive runway extensions, mustn't it?