15 March 2020

Kiwi Shuttle - Kiwi International's Commuter Service

In early July 1995 Kiwi Travel International announced the launch of a joint-venture daily commuter air service in conjunction with Hamilton-based VIP Air Charter. The new service which was to be named, Kiwi Shuttle, intended to begin Hamilton-New Plymouth and Hamilton-Gisborne flights using a Bandeirante 19-seater from the 23rd of August 1995. Kiwi's chief executive Ewan Wilson, who was forming Kiwi Shuttle with Hamilton's VIP Air director Greg Misson, said, he was aiming to grab New Plymouth and Gisborne people too far away to drive to Hamilton. He was targeting trans-Tasman passengers in those cities who used Air New Zealand from Wellington and Auckland. VIP Air Charter had the necessary air service certificate, flight crews and technology, while Kiwi Travel International Airlines had the "marketing clout". The new service would create eight new positions - four captains, three co-pilots, and a Hamilton airport staff member. The Bandeirante was expected to be leased from the United Kingdom. The planned Kiwi Shuttle service set it to be in direct competition with Air New Zealand-owned Eagle Air. 

The proposed schedule in Kiwi's August 1995 timetable

In the event the Bandeirante never arrived and the flights between Hamilton and Gisborne never started. Twice daily services were offered between Hamilton and New Plymouth using VIP Air Charters' Piper Chieftain and presumably the Piper Aztec. The service did not last long and was no longer included in Kiwi Travel International's December 1995  timetable.

Piper Aztec ZK-DGT at Hokitika on 8 April 1996

Piper Pa31-350 Chieftain ZK-VIP at Hamilton on 15 December 1993

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