11 April 2015

Nelson Hub for Kiwi Regional

A new regional airline service is set to make Nelson its pilot and crew hub, creating nearly 20 jobs. The move from Kiwi Regional Airlines (KRA) will place 18 pilots, first officers and flight attendants in Nelson to man its two recently purchased Saab 34-seater aircraft. "Let's remove any doubt - Nelson is our hub," chief executive Ewan Wilson said. "I think it's really exciting for Nelson. It is perfectly located geographically for us." Nelson was a "vital cross over point" for the airline with both its aircrafts flying over the region each day. "It just makes sense." The airline was launched in February, with plans for regular seven-day a week flights between Nelson and Queenstown, Palmerston North, Hamilton and Tauranga. Wilson said he hoped to start flying late this year or early next year. The KRA move follows Air New Zealand's decision to end a number of regional services from April, including between Nelson and Palmerston North which ends on April 28. It is to start the application process in May and Wilson expected the process to take four months. Wilson, who is also director, was the founder of the now defunct budget airline Kiwi Air. KRA had appointed its first senior executive and was in the final stages of appointing a maintenance control manager and flight operations manager. It would then begin advertising for pilot and crew positions. However, Wilson said it was too early to say what its pricing would be. "It's clearly sensitive." He did not want to premeditate the certification process which is why the airline was not selling any tickets yet. However, he had earlier said in targeting the tourist market, it would offer coupons at $599 for four passes and $200 for an additional two. Wilson said he saw KRA as "complementary" to Air New Zealand as its network did not compete with the national carrier on any route. "For the travelling public of New Zealand, we want to position ourselves as a safe, efficient regional carrier that knows its limitations and its place within the aviation scene and lives within that." This had been the problem with Kiwi Air which tried to take on Air New Zealand on its trans-Tasman routes. "That is not our purpose and it's not what Kiwi Regional Airlines is about." Wilson said that Kiwi Air failed 20 years ago and in that time he had learned a lot about the industry. "I knew that one day if the opportunity presented itself that I would like to have another go. It's what New Zealand needs. We need the courage to stick with our convictions." KRA's corporate headquarters will be in Hamilton, where Wilson is based. He is the major shareholder in the company with a 54.55 per cent holding and the other two shareholders with a 22.7 per cent holding each are Nicole Dommett, a shareholder in the Sir George Seymour tourism colleges, and 2 Cheap Cars owned by Eugene Williams. Wilson would not give details of their investment, but said they had decided to buy their own aircraft, showing they were fully committed and resourced. The Saabs cost US$1.5 million, which gave an indication of the investment. Another Saab could be bought at a later date, he said. It was a "challenging sector" but thought that working within its parameters and owning its own plans meant the airline could be profitable and provide a good service, he said. A spokesperson for the New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association said it welcomed the news of a new operator and wanted to ensure airlines act in a safe and responsible manner for the travelling public. "We are looking forward to working with the new airline and welcome discussions with those concerned." Wilson expected that pilots would be enthusiastic about joining the airline.  "It is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity to be at the initial infant phase at the launch of a regional airline. It's something to be very excited about." He also thought being able to return home each day to Nelson would be a lure. 
"There is something quite appealing about it."

Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/67685214/nelson-to-become-hub-for-new-kiwi-regional-airlines.html


  1. Job security is also appealing to pilots. It will be interesting to see where experienced captains come from and what sort of money this start up is willing to pay. They'd have to be looking to ex vincent or maybe even rex guys.

  2. Hi Steve thanks for the update.Have they really purchased two SAAB 340.s or is it more likely .a lease arrangement subject to approval.of their plans .

  3. Nobody cares that Air NZ employ 300 people in Nelson through its subsidiaries Air Nelson and Air NZ Regional Maintenanxe (Formerly Air Nelson Technical) and contribute millions to the local economy annually in salary and wages.
    Yet the phantom startup headed by ex cons say they'll take on 20 and suddenly it's a local success story.

  4. It is intriguing that people are quick to complain about airnz having a monopoly, yet when someone appears somewhat genuine about giving it a go, all sorts of reasons come out as to why it won't work, what's wrong with the history of the managers etc.

    I hope that this works, the initial plans may be ambitious and likely change over time, but if you want to complain about the guys behind it, don't buy a ticket!

    I am excited for the country that there will hopefully soon be some sort of option to travel to (some of) the province's.

    Ops Mgr of a 3rd level operator.

  5. I would say the Kiwi in the 90's was run by a over ambitious 20 something year old. But look what it did to our international airfares. Hope he gets it right this time.

  6. Kiwi Regional indicating some kind of partnership/interline with ANA, promoting the company on their social media page... https://www.facebook.com/kiwiRegionalairlines/posts/770917493022849:0