27 January 2011

Q300s for Hokitika

Hokitika Airport passenger capacity is set to increase almost 20% after Air New Zealand today announced the move to a 50-seat plane on the Hokitika-Christchurch route. Canadian-built Bombardier Q300 50-seat regional airliners, will augment the existing 19-seater Beechcraft, in what has been termed “the biggest ever commercial step in Westland’s aviation history”. Hokitika Airport chairman Bruce Smith said the move, which had been three years in the making, was “exciting stuff”. “We had to apply for certification, which took two years, and we have done all sorts of things to meet the requirements. “This is a major step forward for Hokitika Airport and has been enabled by the long term plan the board adopted three years ago. The major increase in capacity alongside the quiet and quick Q300 will ensure passenger numbers to the West Coast region continue to increase. “Hokitika Airport will be ready and able when the next advancement in service to the West Coast is proposed.” Airport manager Drew Howat said that over the past 12 months a runway lighting upgrade and a revamped runway end safety area had all been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority to allow the larger planes to operate from Hokitika. Westland Mayor Maureen Pugh also welcomed the development and said the addition of the Q300 “clearly demonstrates the confidence that Air New Zealand has in the future of Hokitika Airport”. She added that the ability to bring considerably more traffic into the Coast strengthened the airport’s position even further and was a positive boon for the whole region. As part of the aircraft upgrade, Air New Zealand will also place an extra evening flight from Monday to Friday. The new planes will be operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary, Air Nelson.

Source : http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/larger-planes-hokitika

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