Wellington Scoop

New airport bus service next year will use 10 electric buses 7 days a week

airport buses

News from Metlink
Metlink is pleased to announce Mana Newlands by Transdev as their partner for the new airport express bus service launching in 2022.

The partnership means that Wellingtonians from across the region will soon have an easy and convenient way to get to the Airport, with a new 7-day bus service to run from Wellington Railway Station to the Airport in 2022.

The service, funded by Metlink and delivered by Mana Newlands by Transdev as part of a six-year contract, will operate on the Metlink network, and will have Snapper ticketing, credit and debit payments by EFTPOS, real-time information and a dedicated fleet of ten new zero-emissions electric buses.

Metlink General Manager Scott Gallacher says the new service will provide thousands of people with safe, convenient, affordable and reliable access to the airport.

“With a new service part of the overall Metlink network we’ll be able to see passenger journey data, exactly who is connecting to the service and from which parts of our region. This will help us make adjustments to our bus and rail network and target our resources better to meet demand from our communities,” says Scott Gallacher.

Mana Newlands by Transdev CEO Craig Chin said the company was thrilled to have been chosen to operate the service which will service 11 stops between Wellington Station and the Airport, to be delivered by a new fleet of modern electric buses.

“We’ve been a part of the local community for more than three decades and the expansion of our services to the Wellington Airport is a very exciting one,” Mr Chin said.

Mana Newlands by Transdev currently operates Metlink bus services in Newlands and Tawa. Its parent company, Transdev, is also a Metlink operator, providing rail services across the region. Transdev New Zealand Chief Officer, Greg Pollock, said the new service would provide a high level of customer service.

“Public transport is all about people serving people, and there’s nothing that beats the warm welcome for those who are coming home or visiting our city. The team at Mana Newlands by Transdev are excited to be delivering a cleaner, greener and comfier service for passengers,” says Greg Pollock.

Daran Ponter, Chair of the Regional Council, said it will be great to finally have the first proper public transport service in place at the airport.

“This is fantastic news to ratepayers and Metlink passengers who have long requested a service to the airport. We’ve worked diligently to make this happen and I’m looking forward to seeing a service that is fully integrated to all parts of the wider Metlink network.”

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster said the new service will be a welcome boost to the economy and the tourism industry.

“The airport is a key destination for people in the city and across the region. The last two years have been tough for many families and businesses, and I am very much looking forward to this service helping people reconnect, particularly as international travel resumes,” says Mayor Foster.

Roger Blakeley, Chair of the Transport Committee, welcomed news that the service would provide access for the whole region, as well as affordability and value for money for public transport users.

“A quarter of all eastern suburbs traffic comes from the airport so having a bus service back in place and fewer private vehicles on the road will help ease congestion and meet our climate change obligations. Wellingtonians will tell you that a successful service needs to be frequent, well priced, and at a place people can easily catch it. This new partnership and service ticks all the boxes,” says Cr Blakeley.

Metlink and Mana Newlands by Transdev are now working together on the route and bus infrastructure with details to be revealed in early 2022.


  1. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 16. December 2021, 17:07

    This should be a good stopgap until LGWM comes to its senses and prioritises light rail to the airport & Miramar. [via twitter]

  2. Penelope, 16. December 2021, 18:15


  3. greenwelly, 16. December 2021, 20:48

    Chris C-F, only if it has some sort of mid town stop at Queens Wharf – it’s not going via the Golden mile route. Making people board/alight at either the Railway Station or Courtenay Place is gonna be annoying for those going to and from somewhere in between…

  4. Casey, 17. December 2021, 0:55

    Greenwelly:The release states that there will be 11 stops between the railway station and the airport, suggesting the route will be the same as the now discontinued one. Ideal for both those getting to the airport, or getting into the CBD after arriving in Wellington.

    Therefore not an express service for rail users mainly.

  5. bsmith, 17. December 2021, 6:28

    Light Rail to the airport. Who will pay for this pie in the sky dream ?

  6. Keith Flinders, 17. December 2021, 8:05

    bsmith: Light rail to the airport has always been the wrong focus, in my opinion. Light rail or some other form of mass transit will be required for the massive increase of the population in the eastern suburbs which is already underway, being obvious in Kilbirnie and Miramar.

    Light rail to the eastern suburbs with a connection to the airport, via a travellator or bus shuttle service, would seem to be a better approach.

  7. David Mackenzie, 17. December 2021, 14:39

    Will it connect the Hospital with the Airport? A vital function in my opinion.

  8. J Chris Horne, 17. December 2021, 20:48

    Wonderful news that a bus service from the Railway Station to the airport is to resume! That it will be linked to Metlink with Snapper, accept payment of fares by eftpos and arrival times at each stop will be displayed on real-time information screens will give the city a modern, zero-carbon transport system of travel to and from the airport. It will be well worth the wait.

    This new service will have the capacity to greatly reduce congestion at the Basin Reserve because it will use the Hataitai Bus Tunnel. Thus the new bus service will obviate the imagined “need” for a second Mt Victoria Tunnel. That will be another aid for reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

  9. Dave B, 17. December 2021, 22:23

    Greenwelly/Casey – The trade-off in going via the “Golden Mile” as opposed to the Waterfront is significant in terms of journey-time. The current Route No 1 timetable shows Railway Station-Courtenay Place via the Golden Mile varying from 10min – 18min during a weekday, averaging out at 13min southbound, 15min northbound. I would like to see the new route running direct from Platform 9 to Kent Terrace via the Quays, with a mid-town stop at the city-to-sea bridge. This would give safe access across Jervois Quay to Civic Square. How many bus-passengers from the airport would want to go directly to Golden Mile destinations? There would surely be myriad other potential destinations airport passengers would be heading for which would require either some walking or a transfer, so why prioritise the Golden Mile which could add 5-8 minutes to the journey. However, I concede that the announced “11 stops” does suggest that the new service will be going via the Slowdown Mile.

    Keith Flinders – apparently “a quarter of all eastern suburbs traffic comes from the airport”, so having the airport as an anchor-destination might not be such a bad idea. Unless light rail was to run to Miramar, Seatoun and Lyall Bay as the old trams did, a significant proportion of the eastern suburbs catchment would still lie beyond walking distance of rail. Would it not make sense to create a bus/rail interchange somewhere in the area, rather than compromise the airport connection?

    David Mackenzie – What is your rationale for claiming that a direct hospital-to-airport bus-link is so vital? I struggle to see why. The old airport bus didn’t go via the hospital.

  10. Andy Foster, 18. December 2021, 7:51

    This has been a (well signalled) work in progress for some time, and it is absolutely great to land it. Well done to the Regional Council and Wellington Airport, and congratulations Mana Newlands by TransDev.

    Some people might ask why the previous Flyer ‘fell over’. Promotion, Product, Price! Stop telling people about your product (removed from real time info and Metlink websites), reduce the frequency and increase the price.

    Covid’s dramatic impact on airport passenger activity obviously impacted on confidence to make the investments needed to deliver a new service earlier, but now it’s time. Well done everyone – the new service will make a significant difference to congestion and to emission levels, and provide an affordable airport – city link.