Since I last looked at the trends in domestic air passenger numbers twelve months ago by charting the numbers through the three main airports (see previous post) there have been some major external shocks.
Christchurch has been hit by three major earthquakes (7.1 magnitude on 4 September 2010, 6.3 on 22 February 2011 with 181 fatalities and 6.3 on 13 June 2011) and thousands of aftershocks. This was followed by disruption caused by the 4 June 2011 eruption of Puyehue volcano in Chile.
In addition, Pacific Blue withdrew from the New Zealand domestic market on 18 October 2010 leaving Jetstar to compete with Air New Zealand. It is not surprising therefore that domestic air transport have seen some large monthly declines in the year to June 2011.
On a more positive note, the progressive replacement of Air New Zealand's domestic B737-300 aircraft (133 seats) with A320 aircraft (171 seats) can be expected to boost domestic passenger numbers. Already this has been causing congestion at the main domestic screening point at Auckland airport. On 9 August 2011 the airport company announced that this was being addressed.
I am now monitoring monthly domestic passenger numbers at Queenstown Airport and may include these in a future update.