10 Sep 2020

Dire outlook for Norfolk Island tourism with flights cut

4:57 pm on 10 September 2020

The already struggling Norfolk Island tourism industry has been plunged into further turmoil with Air New Zealand cutting flights to the island.

Norfolk Island. REDOWNLOADED 11/2

Norfolk Island Photo: AFP

The island has had months of virtual shutdown but had expected Air New Zealand to return to its pre-Covid schedule in October of six flights from the Australian mainland a week.

But the head of the Accommodation and Tourism Association, Rael Donde, said the airline, whose flights to Norfolk were underwritten by Australia, had announced it would stick with its current schedule of two flights per week through to March next year.

Donde said this was devastating news and local businesses would fold.

"We were hoping for a recovery phase from October onwards and now clearly that is not going to happen, with the reduced schedule with Air New Zealand deciding unilaterally to reduce its schedule with just two flights out of Australia until 27 March.

"So there will be no recovery period for Norfolk Island."

Donde said there was a lot of disillusionment that these decisions were taken without any consultation with the local administration, nor tourism operators on the island.