14 Jun 2005

Air New Zealand confirms it is has been approached over running a direct Auckland/Niue service

7:25 pm on 14 June 2005

Air New Zealand had confirmed that it has been approached by New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the issue to retaining direct flights to Niue.

It is still unclear if the service currently run by Polynesian Airlines will continue when the airline merges with Virgin Blue later this year.

That service is underwritten by NZAID and the contract with Polynesian still had three years to run.

Air New Zealand' General Manager Pacific Islands, Roger Poulton, says it's not the first time they have considered the route:

"In the past Air New Zealand has been approached about operating services there and we have in fact operated some in years gone by through charter flights. Generally in the past there's been a challenge in operating services to make them viable in terms of profitability given the number of passengers available and the cost of operating aircraft up there.'"

Mr Poulton says Air New Zealand will respond to the inquiry when further work on the potentional of the service has been investigated.