‘Red let­ter day’ as Jet­star launches ser­vice

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

Jet­star has ar­rived. The first flight of the Aussie-based bud­get air­line touched down at Palmer­ston North air­port on Mon­day.

Wel­comed by lo­cal iwi, VIPs and dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing lo­cal MPs and may­ors from around the re­gion, the 50-seat, twin-en­gined, Q300 ar­rived at 3.45pm car­ry­ing Jet­star chief ex­ec­u­tive David Hall, the head of Jet­star New Zealand Grant Kerr, and a small group of reg­u­lar pas­sen­gers.

Palmer­ston North mayor Grant Smith de­scribes the air­line’s launch as a ‘‘red-let­ter day’’ for Manawatu, and a ‘‘great leap for­ward’’ in con­nect­ing the re­gion to the world.

Ask­ing the pub­lic to sup­port the new ser­vice, Grant says he’s been asked many times when Palmer­ston North was go­ing to get more flights and this was an op­por­tu­nity to show that de­mand could sup­port more com­pe­ti­tion.

Palmer­ston North Air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive David Lan­ham says the air­port com­pany ex­pected to see at least a 20 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of pas­sen­gers ar­riv­ing and de­part­ing the city, pos­si­bly ex­ceed­ing 600,000 per year by June 2017.

Up­grades to deal with the in­crease, in­clud­ing work on the ar­rival gate and ex­tend­ing the car park, are ex­pected to be fin­ished by the end of March.

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