18 January 2014

Wanganui's new air service starts on Tuesday

Bookings are gradually building for the new Wanganui-Wellington air service. Sounds Air, whose planes have flown the Cook Strait for 25 years, fly their first service to Wellington on Tuesday morning. The route had been flown by Air New Zealand for several years but was axed in December as it was making a loss for the national carrier. Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford said the decision to fly into Wanganui was made after the company had also investigated flying to Masterton. "It was a proven route with Air NZ, and is a lot longer drive than Masterton to Wellington, so we feel that people are more likely to fly the route than drive whereas with Masterton they are more likely to drive. We also have had a lot of very good feedback from Wanganui residents about the route potential." Mr Crawford said bookings were building slowly but he expected them to gather momentum as more people came back from holiday, and the year got into full swing. "Word of mouth is a very powerful tool and we expect word to get around quickly about what a great service Sounds Air offers." The first flight will depart for Wellington at 6.45am on Tuesday, and the company's administration manager Kim Whitehead will be aboard. Mr Crawford said there would be "a little something" for all first-time passengers. He said the company's pilots were very keen to tackle the new route but some work still needed to be done, such as signwriting for the new ticket counter and employing Wanganui check-in staff. The 40-minute flights between Wanganui and Wellington will run from from Monday to Saturday with a 6.45am takeoff, and in the other direction Sunday to Friday with a 6pm takeoff at Wellington.

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