21 March 2018

Latest Kapiti Coverage

Air Chathams 'very interested' in taking over Kāpiti-Auckland route  

Kāpiti residents are upset at the news that Air New Zealand is canning flights from Kāpiti Coast Airport. Air Chathams may step in to fill the void left by Air New Zealand, as it considers its own Kāpiti to Auckland flights. The national carrier abruptly announced on March 9 that it was canning its service between Auckland and Paraparaumu, north of Wellington, from April 3, stating it wanted to prioritise other areas of the country. However, eager residents will have to wait until at least next week for a decision, and up to two months before any service are up and running. Air Chathams chief executive Craig Emeny said the company was "very interested" in picking up the route, but a feasibility study was required, and a report into obstacles in the runway's path was due to be completed on Tuesday. "We have a technician looking into whether our aircraft have the performance they need to be able to avoid those obstacles if you had an emergency on take-off. These are the sort of things you have to be really thorough about and careful. Normally you need three months just to market in an area because, if you just arrive there, of course very few people know you and there's very few people on the airplane. It can be awfully expensive." The runway was also privately owned, so contracts would have to be drawn up between the parties. He said Air New Zealand had offered use of the ground equipment it left behind, as well as commercial information on the route. Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC) mayor K Gurunathan said talks between the council, Air New Zealand, and Air Chathams showed the family-owned airline could potentially take over the route. The council had received a written statement from Air New Zealand's chief executive Christopher Luxon which said the company would support them with ground equipment, information and expertise. "He acknowledged that given the exit timeframe will have an impact on another carrier looking to take over," said Gurunathan. To manage this disadvantage he has agreed to talk to Air Chatham and KCDC about financial support from Air New Zealand for the route to ensure it's viability in the short term and for the service to resume as soon as possible. "He has further committed to my request about exploring the inclusion of Air Chathams on Air New Zealand's booking system." Air New Zealand stated earlier this month it would support any other airline that wanted to operate the Auckland route. Luxon had also reportedly signalled he was open to discussing financial contributions to help the council market the new service. Emeny said he was not aware of any assistance for marketing services. "I have continued to express council's and our community's disappointment in the way we have been treated. I have stressed that I understand that Air New Zealand as this country's flag bearer, is engaged in direct competition with bigger operators like the Australian flag bearer the Qantas Group," Gurunathan said. "We want Air New Zealand to succeed in that competitive world but expect small districts like Kāpiti Coast to be looked [after]. Air New Zealand is a publicly owned entity and therefore has a duty of care." Air New Zealand was approached for comment.

Guy hosts meeting to reinstate Auckland-Kapiti flights

Otaki MP Nathan Guy says there is plenty of hope for the future of flights between Kapiti and Auckland following a meeting with key stakeholders in Parliament this morning. Mr Guy has hosted the meeting in a bid to secure the reinstatement of flights between Auckland and Kapiti after Air New Zealand announced earlier this month it will cancel its service from 3 April. The meeting was attended by representatives from Air Chathams, Todd Property, the Kapiti Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Gurunathan. “Today’s meeting was highly productive between key stakeholders who are all united by the common goal of looking for a solution. “Everyone who attended the meeting has noted the strong public support for retention of the flights, and we’re committed to finding a logical, effective solution. “Air Chathams, a proven regional air operator, has expressed a strong interest in taking over the service. This would be a great resolution and would provide some assurance and stability for the future of this important connection. “The outcome of this meeting signals that everyone is on the same page in regards to ensuring the flights continue following the disappointing decision by Air New Zealand. “By working together I’m confident we can achieve a new service in the next two to three months,” Mr Guy says. Mr Guy will be attending a public rally at the airport this Sunday where he will update the community on progress being made. He also recently launched a petition seeking support to save the Kapiti to Auckland service - it can be signed here.

Source : New Zealand National Party Press Release, 20 March 2018

Chamber Welcomes Interest From Air Chathams

The Kāpiti community can expect an update about the future of air services from Paraparaumu before Air New Zealand departs the region on 3 April 2018. The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce met with Hon Nathan Guy, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Air Chathams and Todd Property today at Parliament to discuss next steps in attracting a new airline to Kāpiti. “It was fantastic to get around the table with all the key stakeholders and discuss how we can retain this critical service. Air Chathams is showing a lot of interest in what Kāpiti has to offer. As a established regional carrier they know what it takes to operate a thriving airline from the regions,” says Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce. It’s estimated it will take between two to three months to work through some of the regulatory requirements for a new airline to operate from Kāpiti. “Our local businesses would warmly welcome a new carrier to Kāpiti, and we are working to do this as soon as possible. Kāpiti is facing unprecedented opportunities for growth. The daily flights to our largest city have been a feather in our cap, making it easier and more attractive to do business here, as well as increase awareness of Kāpiti as a credible and connected part of the business sector, particularly in Auckland. We are hoping to update the community on what happens next by the time Air New Zealand takes its final flight early next month,” says Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Source : Kapiti Coast Chamber Of Commerce Press Release, 20 March 2018

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