12 June 2015

New Sounds Air service starts on Monday

A second airline has introduced flights to Nelson from Kapiti Coast Airport, adding another 13,000 seats in and out of the two centres each year. Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford announced on June 5 that the weekday and Sunday service would begin on June 15. The new schedule provides two incoming and outgo-ing services to each airport on weekdays, and a late afternoon return flight on Sundays. In February, the airline also launched a six day a week service between Paraparaumu and Blen-heim, which was "building slowly", Crawford said. The new service was aimed to take advantage of a gap in the market left by Air New Zealand's withdrawal from the Palmerston North to Nelson route in April this year. Air New Zealand canned their regional routes served by their 19-seat Beech 1900 fleet, starting late last year, after announcing they were costing about $1 million a month. Crawford said the newly introduced route was attractive as Sounds Air had spare fleet capacity, and was already flying to Kapiti Coast Airport. "Kapiti and Palmerston North are not as far apart as Kapiti and Wellington, so we thought it might appeal to the Palmerston North people. "It's better than setting up at a new airport [Palmerston North], with more staff and more rent." Competing Paraparaumu-based airline Air2there also offers a service between Paraparaumu, Nelson and Blenheim. However, Crawford said he was not concerned about the competition as all Sounds Air flights between Nelson and Paraparaumu were direct, which he believed would give them an advantage. The airline would use a 12-seater Cessna Caravan from its existing fleet for the Paraparaumu to Nelson service. Kapiti had strong population growth, and about 150,000 people lived within 30 minutes drive of Kapiti Coast Airport, Crawford said. The Sounds Air Blenheim and Paraparaumu route also attracted a good proportion of customers from further outside that area, and it was expected the new ser-vice would too. "People can go for the day and back, and it works well for the weekends with the Sunday service." Air/There chief executive Richard Baldwin said the Paraparaumu to Nelson route had been operated by their company for 11 years, and some direct flights were offered. 

Source : Kapiti Observer 11 June 2015


  1. I think Mr Crawford is quite optimistic about people from Palmerston North being prepared to drive to Kapiti to catch a flight to Nelson. Most people in Palmy wouldn't even consider Kapiti an option, and with no direct flights are more likely to book Air NZ via Wellington or make the drive to Wellington and fly from there. Also, for the non-drivers, the public transport options to Kapiti are poor and about threatening to get worse if the rail service is cancelled. I wish Sounds Air all the best in the new venture but to think of this service as a replacement for the Palmy - Nelson service that was axed seems rather fool-hardy.

  2. Does anyone know more about the Gisborne councils' view on the future of the GIS-WLG service?

    Air NZ want to grow the service from a 19 seat to 50 seat route, and as a result need to commence a marketing campaign on Eastland to promote the area and stimulate demand for the upguaging. BUT the council want to shrink the scale of the route and have no interest in helping stimulate regional growth if its going to cost any money.

    They've publicly said they'd rather the PC-12 than the Q300...

    No doubt local ratepayers are furious with their council for snuffing provincial growth.


    1. Unconfirmed, but I have it on good authority from someone within the airline that Gisborne will receive 3 Air Nelson flights to/from WLG with a schedule very much like the new WAG Q300 schedule. This means Gisborne will have two Q300 overnighters. As I say, unconfirmed, but we shall see. GIS - WLG flights are very much hit and miss. Some days are chocker, other days, very empty..

    2. Three flights per day Monday to Friday
      8231 departs @ 6-45
      8239 departs @ 12-30
      8237 departs @ 16-40

      Have not found any wekend flights, but they should appear soon

  3. Any details of which Cessna 208B Grand Caravan operated the first PPQ-NSN-PPQ services this morning as SDA501/502? Thanks