17 July 2015
Kiwi Regional purchases Saab
Confusion over who actually owns Kiwi Regional Airlines' first aircraft has developed between the new airline and its shareholder 2 Cheap Cars - before a single customer has made it onto a flight. Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson says a press release put out by the second hand car dealer yesterday contained a factual error, and that he was never consulted about the release. The statement, put out yesterday afternoon, outlined 2 Cheap Cars' purchase of a Saab 340A from Poland "through its subsidiary Kiwi Regional Airlines". It said the plane was 36-seater, and opened with a line saying the car company would be "bringing its first aircraft into the country in a few weeks". Wilson took issue with any suggestion Kiwi Regional Airlines did not own the aircraft, or might be leasing it, saying "categorically" that the aircraft belonged to the airline, and he could "only assume...they were trying to express the fact that the airline of which 2 Cheap Cars owns some shares has bought an aeroplane." He also says the plane is a 34-seater, and the deal had only been signed at 9.20pm Thursday night, so he was unsure why a press release had gone out that afternoon. He wasn't consulted on the release, and still hasn't seen it despite asking for it. "I respect our shareholder's right to express their involvement as an investor in the airline, and obviously, at the next shareholder meeting there will be a clarification in terms of communication and who speaks for the company," he said. Wilson refused to answer any questions about the relationship with 2 Cheap Cars, saying instead that he was "very happy...that Kiwi Regional Airlines has brought an aeroplane". 2 Cheap Cars chief executive Eugene Williams says there are no problems with communication. However, he refused to answer questions over why Wilson had not been sent the press release, been informed about it, or whether it contained factual errors. Via email from overseas, he said simply that the press release was a 2 Cheap Cars release. The plane involved is the second run in the Saab 340 series, first produced in 1983. The 340A hit the skies in after 1985, and production on the Saab 340s finished up in the mid 1990s. Air New Zealand replaced its Saab 340s in 2004. Wilson says the plane is currently undergoing a thorough maintenance check, and will be repainted with the company's new livery. It will also have to undergo a CAA inspection before it leaves Poland. 2 Cheap Cars owns 22.73 per cent of Kiwi Regional Airline shares, while Wilson owns 54.55 per cent, and Nicole Domett owns another 22.73 per cent.
The original 2 Cheap Cars Press Release...
2 Cheap Cars importing its first plane
New Zealand’s largest car import company will be bringing its first aircraft into the country in a few weeks. 2 Cheap Cars will be purchasing the aircraft through its subsidiary, KIWI Regional Airlines. The new domestic airline will be taking delivery of the aircraft, a Saab 340A, from SprintAir in Poland. The Saab 340A can hold 36 passengers and is recognised internationally as a highly reliable and efficient commuter airliner. 2 Cheap Cars CEO, Eugene Williams, says arrival of the aircraft is an exciting milestone in establishment of KIWI Regional Airlines. “Our aim is to be operational before the end of the year and the early arrival of our first aircraft is a key part of achieving that goal,” says Mr Williams. Mr William says KIWI Regional Airlines is putting together its management team that will oversee the operation of a domestic airline that will be flying predominantly outside of the main centres. As well as having former Kiwi International Airlines founder Ewan Wilson as CEO, KIWI Regional Airlines has appointed experienced pilot and flight operations executive Dale Webb as Manager Flight Operations. Amongst other roles he has previously been Operations Manager for Mt Cook Airlines. Other appointments made by KIWI include Peter Ashford, of Dunedin, who has been appointed as the airline's Quality Assurance and Safety Management Systems Manager. Mr Ashford has airline management experience in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, including working as a Safety Auditor and an Airworthiness Inspector for the New Zealand CAA from 1998. In addition KIWI has appointed Bill Wilson as General Manager Airline Operations. Mr Wilson has extensive airline experience in New Zealand, including flying the Saab aircraft with Air Nelson, as well as flying Boeings for Freedom Air and seven years with the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority as an Airline Inspector, and Rules Project Specialist. The opportunity to establish the airline came about following Air New Zealand’s decision to discontinue flying a number of regional services.
Posted by Steve L at 8:05 PM