Air Chathams now in air for Ka¯piti Air­port

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

Air Chathams’ Ka¯ piti to Auck­land air ser­vice is fully op­er­a­tional.

The in­au­gu­ral flight landed at Kapiti Coast Air­port on Sun­day from Auck­land with guests on­board be­fore a po¯ whiri, speeches and cake cut­ting. On Mon­day, in rain, the first pub­lic flight took off shortly be­fore 7am, bound for Auck­land.

Air Chathams has taken over the route which Air New Zealand had for about 10 years be­fore the na­tional car­rier sud­denly ditched it ear­lier this year.

Ka¯ piti mayor K Gu­runathan said Air New Zealand’s de­par­ture had been a shock but what had hap­pened since had been “fan­tas­tic” with peo­ple get­ting be­hind Air Chathams.

He said peo­ple had a strong con­nec­tion with the air­port and while Todd Prop­erty Group owned the ti­tle, the cul­tural ti­tle “is owned by my com­mu­nity”. He noted land was taken by the gov­ern­ment un­der the Pub­lic Works Act dur­ing World War II, to cre­ate an air­port in Para­pa­raumu.

“We are re­minded that this should con­tinue to be an air­port, and for that to hap­pen and be sus­tain­able, we need the con­tin­u­a­tion of an air­line ser­vice.”

Mana MP Kris Faafoi said a lot of work had been done to get Air Chathams to Ka¯ piti and the new chal­lenge to the com­mu­nity was to sup­port “this new mem­ber to our fam­ily to make sure it’s a long and en­dur­ing re­la­tion­ship”.

“Our whole world is back on track, thank you,” Kapiti Coast Air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive Robert Bin­ney said.

“We’re ex­cited to see Air Chathams come to the Ka¯ piti Coast and look for­ward to of­fer­ing you the sup­port as you build up the ser­vice.

“We en­cour­age the com­mu­nity to get be­hind Air Chathams and make the ser­vice a suc­cess.”

“We’re very much look­ing for­ward to build­ing this flight ser­vice and get­ting it back to where it was and where this com­mu­nity needs it to be,” Air Chathams gen­eral man­ager Duane Emeny said.

O¯ taki MP Nathan Guy thanked Air Chathams founder Craig Emeny and son Duane “for in ef­fect com­ing to the party and see­ing this as an op­por­tu­nity for your air­line to grow”.

“I’m very proud of the fact that when you flew into Whanganui there were about 24,000 pas­sen­ger move­ments a year with Air New Zealand and you’ve taken that to 30,000 a year and there’s an op­por­tu­nity for you to do some­thing sim­i­lar here.

“And we all, with fin­gers and toes crossed, be­lieve there’s an op­por­tu­nity to re­con­nect with Christchurch as well.”

He ac­knowl­edged air­port owner Todd Prop­erty Group for “en­sur­ing we can main­tain the mo­men­tum”.

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