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Storms fail to stop Newcastle Airport going international

November 28, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

It has finally happened – Newcastle Airport in New South Wales has gone international – though last week’s launch of international services was a little obscured by an aircraft technical hitch and wild weather that lashed southeast Australia and closed runways at Sydney Airport.

From Newcastle Airport, international means New Zealand. Virgin Australia has launched a new 13-week seasonal service between Newcastle and Auckland that will operate over the peak holiday period, with direct flights available every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday between 22 November 2018 and 17 February 2019.

The airport estimates the new services will pump an additional AUD 6.1 million into the local economy and bring up to 6500 extra visitors to the region

Virgin Australia has also launched Melbourne to Queenstown flights and Sydney to Wellington flights.

“Almost 1.5 million Australians travel to New Zealand every year, and we’re thrilled to provide an additional 40,000 seats for Australians to make the trip across the Tasman,” Virgin Australia Airlines group executive, Rob Sharp, commented.

Unlike some of its competitors, Virgin Australia fares between Australia and New Zealand include a meal, drink, up to 23kg checked baggage, and access to inflight WiFi. This makes Virgin Australia the only airline to offer inflight WiFi across the Tasman.

Flights between Newcastle and Auckland began last Thursday. Newcastle Airport and Virgin Australia celebrated the official opening of the airport’s new international gates, welcoming the first passengers into the AUD 1.6 million international processing facilities for the first time.

A Maori cultural performance from the Nga Hau E Wha Newcastle Maori Club set the scene.

Newcastle Airport chief executive, Peter Cock described the arrival of the inaugural flight as a major milestone for the Hunter, Central Coast and Northern NSW.

The much-anticipated B737-800 service between Auckland and Newcastle marks the start of the airline’s three direct international services per week.

Newcastle Airport celebrates international services

A mechanical glitch, described officially as an “engineering technicality” forced an extended delay to the return flight, which took off on Friday, just as bad weather swept in.

“Newcastle Airport is open & operational,” the airport tweeted. “There are traffic delays around the Airport, we advise allowing extra time to travel & to check with your airline for flight schedules. Use Live Traffic NSW app to plan your trip.”

Written by Peter Needham

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