New air­lines happy with pas­sen­ger num­bers

Nelson Mail - - NEWS - JESS PULLAR

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.

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