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Auckland Airport has been advised by United Airlines that, due to Houston City Council’s decision to add international flights at the city’s second airport, William P. Hobby Airport, it is likely they will shelve growth plans out of their Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Regrettably, this decision by United Airlines to halt growth plans, and review the USD700 million terminal expansion it had planned at George Bush International Airport, will likely impact on the previously announced Continental B787 service to Auckland. That service, while originally due to start in November 2011, has been unable to commence because of ongoing delays in the delivery of aircraft.
Auckland Airport’s chief executive, Simon Moutter, said, “It is very disappointing that this important new service connecting New Zealand to the United States has been caught up in a local Houston dispute over airports. It is equally frustrating that the delays in the delivery of the B787 aircraft have meant that the service was not already well underway by now.”
Mr Moutter said, “We firmly believe that New Zealand needs more air-capacity to North America and more carrier choice, and that Auckland remains an attractive proposition for airlines. We’ll continue to talk to United about options to connect to Auckland, and we will now increase our level of engagement with other carriers to explore a number of viable opportunities. We are confident of converting one of these opportunities in coming months.”