Range anxiety: AKLWKA on a turbo-prop [Wanaka Sun, 26/09/19]
Wānaka-based airline captain Terry Hetherington has researched and calculated that turbo-prop aircraft, specifically the ATR 72-600 which are already in use in New Zealand, can indeed fly between Wānaka and Auckland. This comes amidst the ongoing debate about the future of Wānaka Airport and whether a domestic service to Auckland is possible using turbo props instead of jets.
Hetherington said, “I’ve been tracking the developments relating to Wānaka Airport since well before Wānaka Stakeholders Group Inc. was formed. Very recently, a new ‘theme’ has emerged from the pro-jet camp: the suggestion that although ATRs (or similar turbo jet aircraft) could operate regional services out of Wānaka to other destinations, they supposedly could not operate between Wānaka and Auckland. Therefore, we ‘need’ jets here, or we cannot fly to Auckland!”
Sara Irvine, general manager corporate and community affairs for Queenstown Airport Corporation pointed out, “To our knowledge there has never been scheduled services between Auckland and Queenstown using turbo props.” Aucklanders used to have to fly to Christchurch, then connect in a turbo prop to get to Queenstown. A direct flight only became possible when jets were introduced.