08 September 2019

Saab Plans for Whakatāne

With the completion of Whakatāne Airport's RESA (runway end safety area, that is, "the surface surrounding the runway prepared or suitable for reducing the risk of damage to airplanes in the event of an undershoot, overshoot, or excursion from the runway.") Air Chathams is in the process of preparing for peak time Saab services to the eastern Bay of Plenty town. This was noted in the Air Chathams' September Update where a report was given on Air Chathams' attendance at Whakatāne's  Beacon Business and Lifestyle Show... 

Gray Tinley, our Customer Service Manager and Lyn Cheyne, our Marketing Manager both represented Air Chathams in Whakatāne.  It was great to see people who use the service regularly and receive a number of compliments about the airline....  

The questions we were asked the most were - when will Air Chathams fly to Wellington from Whakatāne? and when is the "big plane" coming?  Gray and Lyn could only say there were no plans for flights to Wellington and that plans were being put into place currently to introduce the Saab 340 before the end of the year.

The Saab 340 will be used only on the flights with the highest levels of demand (late Friday and early Saturday morning are a couple scheduled already) and seats double the number of passengers at 36.  It is a turbo-prop aircraft crewed by two pilots and one flight attendant and travels a little faster than the current Metroliner at 470km per hour.  (And it has a toilet on board).

Keep an eye out as it won't be long until you see our bigger aircraft over the Bay of the Plenty as we fly in to Whakatāne's heritage airport.

Not a Saab - but at last a decent full sun photo of Metro 23 ZK-POF at Whakatāne on 7 September 2019.

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