25 November 2015

Kiwi cans Queenstown

One month after commencing flights between Dunedin and Queenstown, Kiwi Regional Airlines has announced it will be ceasing these services, with the last flight on 30th November 2015. Kiwi's CEO, Ewan Wilson, said "the services to Queenstown have been extremely challenging for our company, with a combination of several weather-related cancellations and low passenger bookings making it unsustainable for this service to continue. This is in marked contrast to our services between Dunedin, Nelson and Hamilton, which have all exceeded expectations for the first month of operation, leading us to look at new regions for expansion into in the future, such as Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki. Like most private companies in New Zealand, Kiwi operates without any Government or overseas backing, and cannot afford to subsidise operations that are not financially viable. We made a commercial decision to end the scheduled Queenstown flights before they affected the performance of our whole company, but we have left it open to return to the city at a future date, for charters or potential alternative scheduled services. All passengers who have booked on Queenstown flights after 30th November will be offered full refunds or other alternative arrangements by Kiwi, and are being contacted this week. Staff and contractors affected by this decision have already been contacted by company management."


  1. Here is Mr Wilson in the ODT of 19 November defending the cancellation (due to high winds) of a flight to Dunedin for Fleetwood Mac fans - with passengers reported as 5 one way, 10 the other:

    " The decision to cancel yesterday's flights had nothing to do with low passenger numbers, Mr Wilson said. ''Let me absolutely assure you that passenger numbers played no role in my operational team's decision,'' he said. ''I can show on multiple occasions where we have run flights with considerably less passengers."

    Multiple occasions with "considerably less" ? On which routes? Clearly not those where numbers have "exceeded expectations" - or were they expecting very low numbers...

    1. ''I can show on multiple occasions where we have run flights with considerably less passengers."

      Probably on the DUD-ZQN route!

  2. Turboprops have no place in scheduled operation at ZQN unless they are RNP AR approved. Mt Cook is spending a lot of money to get the approval for the ATR 600.

    To turn up with an old airframe that does not have support from the manufacturer to upgrade the type certificate to meet the nav performance required to not only operate in RNP airspace but also carry out RNP AR approaches in a non radar environment and the operation will fail.

  3. ZQN was always going to be a risky gamble from Dunedin...for all the above reasons, and apparently a personality clash. Still they're cutting lose now to focus on opening up Tauranga.
    ZQN isn't that bad an airport and can cope with smaller players scurrying about among the big jets. But what little player can afford RNP and you still need bums on seats.

  4. There was an article on stuff with a few more detail:

    There was also an article today covering their plans for Napier and Tauranga:

    He belives that the flights will begin to these destinations in February.