12 June 2015
New Sounds Air service starts on Monday
A second airline has introduced flights to Nelson from Kapiti Coast Airport, adding another 13,000 seats in and out of the two centres each year. Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford announced on June 5 that the weekday and Sunday service would begin on June 15. The new schedule provides two incoming and outgo-ing services to each airport on weekdays, and a late afternoon return flight on Sundays. In February, the airline also launched a six day a week service between Paraparaumu and Blen-heim, which was "building slowly", Crawford said. The new service was aimed to take advantage of a gap in the market left by Air New Zealand's withdrawal from the Palmerston North to Nelson route in April this year. Air New Zealand canned their regional routes served by their 19-seat Beech 1900 fleet, starting late last year, after announcing they were costing about $1 million a month. Crawford said the newly introduced route was attractive as Sounds Air had spare fleet capacity, and was already flying to Kapiti Coast Airport. "Kapiti and Palmerston North are not as far apart as Kapiti and Wellington, so we thought it might appeal to the Palmerston North people. "It's better than setting up at a new airport [Palmerston North], with more staff and more rent." Competing Paraparaumu-based airline Air2there also offers a service between Paraparaumu, Nelson and Blenheim. However, Crawford said he was not concerned about the competition as all Sounds Air flights between Nelson and Paraparaumu were direct, which he believed would give them an advantage. The airline would use a 12-seater Cessna Caravan from its existing fleet for the Paraparaumu to Nelson service. Kapiti had strong population growth, and about 150,000 people lived within 30 minutes drive of Kapiti Coast Airport, Crawford said. The Sounds Air Blenheim and Paraparaumu route also attracted a good proportion of customers from further outside that area, and it was expected the new ser-vice would too. "People can go for the day and back, and it works well for the weekends with the Sunday service." Air/There chief executive Richard Baldwin said the Paraparaumu to Nelson route had been operated by their company for 11 years, and some direct flights were offered.
Source : Kapiti Observer 11 June 2015
Posted by Steve L at 10:05 PM