Tourism industry hopeful flights will be restored

4:30 pm on 31 March 2011

The Tourism Industry Association is hopeful that cuts to flights in and out of Christchurch will be temporary.

Goldman Sachs economist Philip Borkin has issued a downbeat forecast for the tourism sector because of the Canterbury earthquakes, saying visitor numbers will fall by 10% in the second quarter and arrivals from Japan could fall by 40%.

Airlines are already reacting to the predicted slump.

Qantas-owned JetStar has cut three domestic and one trans-Tasman flight in and out of Christchurch, and Singapore Airlines has decided against putting on extra flights in winter as previously planned.

But the Tourism Industry Association's chief executive, Tim Cossar, says Christchurch Airport is still open and can operate as a gateway to the rest of the South Island.