Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow

Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says. 

 “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return to Westport in the 1980s it is hugely disappointing to now see Air New Zealand pull its Westport to Wellington service.

“It’s a savage blow to a community already squeezed by job losses at Solid Energy and the proposed closure of the Holcim cement works.

“While I can understand the challenges faced by Air New Zealand, the Government, as the majority shareholder, appears determined to invest in the central hubs only, to the detriment of the regions.

“The airline is supposed to be the ‘national’ carrier. Today’s decision makes it considerably less than that, and that will have major implications for the local economy,” Damien O’Connor said.