New airlines happy with passenger numbers
New airlines in Nelson are proving popular for travellers bound for smaller centres across New Zealand.
Pre-tickets for new flight routes between Nelson, Hamilton and Dunedin have sold steadily for Kiwi Regional Airlines ahead of its first scheduled flight at the end of the month.
Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson said he was ‘‘pleasantly surprised’’ with the response. About 50 per cent of the airline’s 34 seater plane was full for its first few flights from Nelson to Hamilton and Dunedin.
‘‘This far out [from our first flight] that figure is quite encouraging,’’ said Wilson.
Proofing for the airline’s aircraft will take place on October 19, which will certify whether the airline can begin flying its scheduled services on October 27.
‘‘In aviation you can never count your chickens before they’ve hatched but my team have worked really hard,’’ he said. ‘‘We are quietly confident.’’
Meanwhile, Originair managing director Robert Inglis, who launched a Nelson to Palmerston North route in August and more recently a Nelson to Wellington route, said he was pleased with the airline’s growth. ‘‘Almost two months in we are very pleased with the growth and demand,’’ he said.
The airline’s services were fully booked on Friday, and he was confident the demand would continue into summer. ‘‘We are aware [demand] will vary from time to time depending on events and the holiday periods, but we think that the public enjoy another choice at peak times,’’ he said.
The airline will be introducing additional flights to its Wellington service from next week, with two extra flights added to the Friday services. He said despite the Wellington route competing with Air New Zealand, there was strong support.