BLOG: Wellington City loses out as Airport reports falling international passenger numbers

By Dr. Sea Rotmann Wellington Airport have released their full-year results, reporting a drop in international passengers by nearly 9,000 people. The much lauded Singapore Airlines Capital Express route, which Mayor Justin Lester promised would be “a boon for Wellington offering cheaper travel” and “bring more visitors to the capital”, has failed to make much of an impact in its first six months as international numbers drop while the Wellington to Auckland route sees the biggest growth. While not supporting the rate payer subsidy given to test the Singapore connection, the trial has also confirmed what many suspected, the demand is simply not there. Better to know this now, before the council commits another $90 million on the proposed runway extension. So what does this mean for the extension? In a meeting with the Guardians of the Bays earlier this year, Mr Lester stated that if the Capital Express route take-up indicated a lack of demand, the runway extension would be taken off the table. We hope the Mayor will stand by this promise. The City Council should not be supporting this white elephant project that is riddled with flaws and will drain the region of much needed financial resources. Read More …