Aviation expert: Clears buy-in for takeoff

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Auckland International’s buy-in to Queenstown Airport gets the thumbs-up from a respected global aviation commentator. 

Peter Harbison, Sydney-based executive chairman of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, believes new airlines will come into the resort because of Auckland “cross-selling” Queenstown. 

“I believe Auckland can – and probably will – deliver value to Queenstown, in turn doing itself a favour by enhancing its investment,” Harbison says. 

CAPA bills itself as “the world’s leading resource for aviation intelligence”. 

Harbison was reacting to comments by Marcus Curley, NZ research boss of global financial firm Goldman Sachs JB Were, who poured doubt on Auckland’s Queenstown buy-in by telling the New Zealand Herald that cross-selling multiple destinations was unproven. 

“I think a better adjective would be inconsistent,” Harbison says. Success depends on the specific airports and airlines involved, he adds. 

The new carriers Auckland will attract into Queenstown will be full-service airlines as well as the budget variety, Harbison predicts. 

“Queenstown’s a leisure destination so there’s a need for cheap prices – often including ground packages, which allow airlines to disguise yields.” 

But international passengers need some degree of connectivity to global route networks, favouring full service airlines with more versatile capability, Harbison says.