Air New Zealand is urging Kiwi travellers to consider travel insurance and get to airports early as it muscles up for a bumper summer season.
The airline will operate 2.2 million domestic seats over the December-January peak — 90,000 more than last year. This includes 180 additional flights between December 21 and December 31 to get Christmas travellers to their destinations.
The busiest flying days are expected to be Thursday December 21 and Christmas Eve with passenger numbers peaking on Friday December 22.
AirNZ on that day will operate more than 45,000 seats across about 530 domestic flights.
The airline is urging domestic customers booked to travel during the peak period to look at taking out travel insurance. Domestic customers often don’t do this because a big-ticket item, medical cover, is not needed.
“Many of our customers have big plans for memorable summer holidays and our operational teams are absolutely geared up to get them to where they need to be, but every year events outside our control such as bad weather mean travellers’ plans go awry,’’ chief strategy networks and alliances officer Nick Judd said.
“Most customers don’t think twice about taking out insurance for overseas trips, but it’s a step that’s often forgotten for domestic journeys. When the unexpected happens, the extra money paid to insure your journey could end up being money very well spent.
“The same goes for major sporting and concert events this summer. For example, Air New Zealand is operating 60 extra one-way flights to get Ed Sheeran fans from Auckland to Dunedin in March 2018.
“We know that customers will have made a significant investment in show tickets, flights and accommodation. So, considering taking out travel insurance for events like music concerts and sporting fixtures makes for good common sense.”
Judd also advised travellers to allow extra time to negotiate airports during the peak season.
He noted Auckland Airport experienced serious congestion last summer.
While the airline was hoping the it wouldn’t be as bad this year, he said it was still wise for passengers to double-check itineraries and leave plenty of time to get to and through the airport.
Separately, AirNZ also announced it was the first airline to join the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative aimed at fast-tracking the uptake of electric vehicles.
The initiative by the global not-for-profit environmental group aims to encourage organisations to use their buying power and influence to build demand for electric vehicles and ultimately lower their cost.
AirNZ has converted its light vehicle fleet to electric vehicles as part of a commitment to cutting greenhouse gases and moving to environmentally sustainable operations.