07 October 2015
Awaiting Clearance for Take Off
Three weeks out from its first passenger flight, Kiwi Regional Airlines still has one all-important task to tick off the list. It needs to get its licence. The regional airline, founded by Hamilton City councillor Ewan Wilson, started up in response to Air New Zealand pulling out of some regional routes after claiming they were no longer cost-effective to service. Kiwi Regional Airlines (Kiwi Air) will fly return flights between Hamilton and Nelson, Nelson and Dunedin, and Dunedin and Queenstown. Wilson, the new airline's chief executive, said Kiwi Regional Airlines' pilots and staff would be put through their paces on October 19, when the airline is required to undergo "proofing" with Civil Aviation Authority regulators to show it can operate the network it has proposed. Regulators will fly the entire network with Kiwi Regional staff, and, says Wilson, he hopes the airline will get its licence days later. Even so, that would be less than a week before the airline's scheduled launch on October 27. Wilson said that was just the way the process worked and he was very confident the airline would make its launch date. "We would not be selling tickets otherwise," he said. Tickets for its flights have been on sale since August, and Wilson declined to say how many had been sold. But he said he was "very happy" with how well Nelson to Dunedin flights, and Hamilton to Nelson flights, had been selling. The airline is running a Trade Me auction for its first "Golden Ticket", which allows passengers unlimited standby flights for six months. "Airlines always struggle with what to do with unsold inventory," he said. "We are trying to be a little bit innovative ... the difficulty is [knowing] what the market value of that [ticket] is." With two days left to run, bids have reached $1011, and the auction has been viewed by more than 3600 people. Wilson said he was happy with the response, and once the price point had been determined, the airline would probably offer 20 Golden Tickets per city, or 80 throughout the network.
Posted by Steve L at 10:41 PM