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Nick Ashley

Airline Development Manager

Meet Nick, a member of our Aeronautical team. He joined us last year after living in Singapore and working for Singapore Airlines. As well as studying and working in aviation, Nick also flies planes in his spare time! 

What do you do as an Airline Development Manager? I help our airline partners grow and develop their route networks. Airlines have their own network planning departments, but value the local insights, analysis, and forecasts our aeronautical development team can provide.

What do you love most about your job? Definitely the diversity. As a natural evolution from my background in airline route development, working for an airport now provides exposure to a much wider variety of airlines, both locally and as far afield as the Middle East.

Most exciting moment on the job? Seeing the first Air New Zealand Dreamliner depart from here to Singapore. It was a hugely significant moment as the airline’s first new destination from Christchurch since 2013, and was a flight I was particularly invested in. The service was part of a joint venture with Singapore Airlines and I worked on pricing and monitoring the route’s performance from the “other end” during my time in Singapore.

What inspired you to study aviation? It’s always been a passion of mine, but the Massey University Aviation Management Programme was so interesting I ended up staying on for seven years to get two Master’s degrees, all by correspondence.

Favourite aircraft? I don’t actually have a favourite but instead really enjoy the diverse array of aircraft here. Among our scheduled carriers, there are regional turboprops dating back to the mid-20th century, through to the latest in Boeing and Airbus long-haul technology. It’s also great to see the annual visits from United States Air Force strategic airlifters as part of the Antarctic Programme.

Favourite airline to fly with? I’m not biased, but would have to say Singapore Airlines.

Most memorable flying experience? Travelling long-haul in first class has completely changed my understanding of what flying can be – caviar and bottomless Dom Perignon at 38,000 feet is hard to beat!

An interesting fact that most people wouldn’t know about you? While I’ve travelled to around 50 places in Asia, I’ve never visited any of the Pacific Islands, so I’m really looking forward to that Pacific travel bubble so I can explore some new destinations.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working?  At the moment, with snow on the Southern Alps, you’ll find me either flying through the mountains in a light aircraft or skiing down them. As we move into the warmer months, I’ll be swapping the snow skis for a water ski.

Biggest life accomplishment? 2016 was my annus mirabilis or ‘wonderful year’. I completed my second Master’s degree, built a holiday house at Lake Tekapo, and after being posted to Sydney with Singapore Airlines, was promoted to Regional Marketing Manager.

What’s your favourite travel destination? I’m a scuba diver, so staying at a dive resort in Raja Ampat, a region of Indonesia in West Papua, was an incredible experience. The natural beauty and abundant sea life were outstanding, so no wonder it’s called “the last paradise on earth”.

Go-to South Island spot? Again, not biased, but it has to be Lake Tekapo, just a short drive from the gateway to the South Island (Christchurch Airport!) Between the lake, the mountains, and the beautiful night sky, it’s a great spot to visit any time of the year.