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Resilient Kiwis fly in face of danger

Kiwis have not been put off air travel by the Malaysia Airlines tragedy, say local travel agents.

An international search for the remains of MH370 continues after it disappeared with 239 people on board more than four weeks ago.

Flight Centre New Zealand product general manager Simon McKearney said the tragedy has not deterred travellers and it was business as usual.

“We have not seen a change in the number of bookings and we are not expecting there to be any significant impact on the number of Kiwis travelling to Malaysia or flying with Malaysia Airlines.”

House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas, who has worked in the industry for many years, said high-profile air accidents might create a “blip” in short-term ticket sales, but did not affect people’s travel habits long-term.

“You might see a slight drop off [in ticket sales] but it returns to normal very quickly.”

New Zealanders were “resilient travellers” who understood air travel was the safest means of transport.

Kiwi traveller Patrick Dudson, who has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia, said he was unworried by the accident, and it would not affect his future travel plans.

“All I really care about is how much it will cost.”

A 2005 US study attributed more than 2000 deaths to the fact that more of the public chose to drive rather than fly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Civil Aviation Authority New Zealand figures show over a three-year period ending June 2013, there were no fatal accidents for international or domestic passenger aeroplane operations in New Zealand. In that period there were 381,600 air transport flights by registered aeroplanes.

In contrast, for the same three-year period ending June 2013, New Zealand Transport Agency statistics show 894 people were killed on New Zealand roads.

_Rick Jordan for the Christchurch Mail