The Kāpiti Coast District Council welcomes news that Air Chathams will step in to take over the Kāpiti to Auckland air service. Tickets went on sale today on the airline’s website www.airchathams.co.nz.
The service will start on 20 August using aircraft from the company’s fleet of three Saab aircraft. The Saab is a twin engine turboprop with seating capacity for up to 36 passengers. Air Chathams already operates in Auckland, Whakatane, Whanganui, Wellington, Christchurch and its Chatham Islands’ home base.
Air Chathams CEO Craig Emeny says the airline is really looking forward to its first flights and to meeting its new customers from Kāpiti and beyond.
“Our business is built on a real sense of involvement in the communities we serve. It’s a way of operating that’s seen us connecting regional New Zealand for over 30 years which will be a key part of our success on the Kāpiti to Auckland route too,” Mr Emeny says.
“Planning for this new service has been complex, but our whole team is excited to be able to put our skill and experience to work on this new route.”
Mayor K Gurunathan says the family-owned operator’s strong regional reputation is a good fit for Kāpiti.
“I am absolutely delighted Air Chathams has decided to support our District’s economy and our community by offering this vital air service between Kāpiti and Auckland,” he said.
The Council has agreed to support Air Chathams through the ‘Fly Kāpiti’ campaign, as the airline starts work on building a strong and loyal customer base.
Council’s financial support is supplemented by initial support from Air New Zealand and longer term incentives from the Kāpiti Coast Airport. Air New Zealand will match a $50,000 investment in marketing that Council will provide through its Economic Development budget. Kāpiti Coast Airport, which is owned by Todd Property, has also offered Air Chathams a free terminal lease for the first year, along with other ongoing discounts on operating charges to support the successful start-up of a new service.
Mayor Gurunathan thanked the many players involved in attracting an airline back to Kāpiti to offer this direct to Auckland service.
“From the minute it was announced Kāpiti flights were being withdrawn I told Kāpiti to ‘watch this space’. Now all the hard work with business, community and government to rally support to attract and secure air services for our District has paid off.
“It’s been an absolute team effort and we thank everyone involved. Kāpiti Coast Airport, Air New Zealand, our Chamber of Commerce, neighbouring mayors, ministers and MPs have all gone the extra mile to raise our profile in what’s become a national conversation about the needs of regional New Zealand,” Mayor Gurunathan said.
Air New Zealand had also stepped up with offers of ongoing assistance and sharing of information and was working closely with Air Chathams, the Council and the Airport to support the new route he said.
“The future economic development opportunities the link offers Kāpiti are significant.
“We have a buoyant district economy and the ability for people to fly the Kāpiti to Auckland route really strengthens business, family and visitor connections and will bolster our visitor economy.
“We know from our conversations with passengers on the previous service that the convenience of this direct route from Kāpiti is a big part of people’s decision-making when choosing to fly from our local airport.
“The calmer, pleasant travel experience Kāpiti can continue to offer, without the hassle of traffic and weather impacts of a bigger port, is a key point of difference for this service,” Mayor Gurunathan says.
“I encourage everyone to think ‘Fly Kāpiti’ when making a decision to fly to Auckland.”
For information and bookings for Kāpiti-Auckland flights, visit Air Chathams’ website or call 0800 580 127.