22 November 2014

Sunair Checks out Whakatane

Sunair's chief executive Dan Power flew into Whakatane earlier this week to talk to representatives from the Whakatane District Council and the Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce.  Initially Sunair was looking at operating two scheduled daily return services between Whakatane and Auckland using a Cessna Caravan. Sunair is also offering to provide connections to Gisborne and Napier but their last attempt to include Whakatane didn't generate much traffic.

Dan Power said “We wanted to gain from the business community what they want from an air service so we’ve got local input and can work on schedules and prices.” A survey is planned for the business community and Air New Zealand has provided Sunair with statistics on the Whakatane-Auckland route. This seems to indicate four return flights a day would be needed, not two. If it extended its operation to Whakatane, Sunair would have a base at the airport and two pilots living in the community. 

Meanwhile locally-based East Bay Aviation is interested in expanding their businesses to include scheduled flights to Auckland. A third unnamed company is also looking at servicing Whakatane. 

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