Queen­stown is on flight path

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By NARELLE HENSEN

New Zealand’s new­est air­line has an­nounced di­rect routes from Queen­stown to Nel­son and Dunedin.

While it still needs to get cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, Kiwi Re­gional Air­lines will aim to be in the sky by the end of the year, with di­rect flights be­tween Auck­land, Hamil­ton, Nel­son, Blen­heim and Palmer­ston North with a con­nec­tion to Queen­stown.

The com­pany will be based in Hamil­ton, and will pur­chase two Saab 340 34-seater air­craft from Europe for the flights. Snacks and re­fresh­ments will be of­fered, and the ser­vice will in­clude a flight at­ten­dant.

Hamil­ton city coun­cil­lor and Kiwi Re­gional Air­lines chief ex­ec­u­tive Ewan Wil­son an­nounced the planned car­rier at the end of last year af­ter Air New Zealand said it would pull out of some re­gional routes.

Air NZ said it was los­ing $1 mil­lion a month on routes run by the 19-seat Beech 1900D air­craft, and would scrap Kaitaia, Whakatane and West­port ser­vices from April. Whangarei to Welling­ton, Taupo to Welling­ton, Palmer­ston North to Nel­son will also be scrapped, and Hamil­ton to Auck­land will be gone from Fe­bru­ary 2016.

Wil­son said load fac­tor and yield date from Air NZ had been pro­vided to the com­pany which had helped de­ter­mine the routes, which were not be­ing of­fered by any other car­rier as far as he was aware. They in­clude a flight from Auck­land, stop­ping in Hamil­ton, Nel­son, Queen­stown to Dunedin, which will fly daily both ways.

Flights from Palmer­ston North to Blen­heim, Nel­son, Tau­ranga and the North Shore will also be of­fered, along with one from the North Shore to Welling­ton.

The di­rect flights from Blen­heim and Palmer­ston North would run six days a week.

Nel­son would be served by a morn­ing flight from Queen­stown, go­ing on to Hamil­ton and Auck­land with a mid-af­ter­noon re­turn. The flight would be part of a route that left Dunedin in the early morn­ing, ar­riv­ing in Auck­land around noon be­fore re­turn­ing on the same route.

An­other air­craft would pro­vide Nel­son-Tas­man res­i­dents with di­rect con­nec­tions to Palmer­ston North, and an on­go­ing con­nec­tion to Tau­ranga.

Wil­son said the com­pany had all the funds re­quired to get its op­er­at­ing li­cence, hire staff, buy planes and set up head­quar­ters in Hamil­ton thanks to share­hold­ers. .

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