29 May 2020

Kaikōura Air Service Starting Well

Air Kaikōura has launched its first return flight to Wellington and is already hoping to expand its services. Air Kaikōura manager Murray Hamilton said their hope was to fly to Wellington, Blenheim and back to Kaikōura. "We haven't finalised all those details but that's definitely our intention. “We are an aero club but Air Kaikōura is our business, and we have been running whale watching flights for 30 years now," Hamilton said. The first flight to Wellington wasn't fully booked but "we had good numbers, four up and five back". They were using a GA-8 Airvan for their services and it could transport up to seven passengers. The airline initially had two aircraft, but were adding a third plane in service, Hamilton said. Ticket sales were going very well, "we are pleased with the way it started, and we just got to make sure it keeps growing”. The cost of a one-way flight would be $150 per person within the three regions. It was a beautiful scenic flight up the coast and it would take about 50-minutes to Wellington and a similar time back to Kaikōura, Hamilton said. At this time they were operating one return flight from Kaikōura on Fridays and Sundays with the help of four pilots. On both the days, the aircraft departs out of Kaikōura at 2pm and arrives in Wellington at 3pm, and departs Wellington at 3.30pm and arrives in Kaikōura at 4.30pm, Hamilton said. Wellington resident Priya Patel was one of the first passengers to use the Air Kaikōura flight, and said the service was “amazing”. “It was a very small flight so it was quick, it was an hour each way ... and probably the first time you could fly directly into Kaikōura,” she said. Another Kaikōura resident and principal advisor for the Government's Covid-19 response team, Libby Clifford was one of the first passengers who took the flight to Kaikōura from Wellington on May 15. "I came down from Wellington to Kaikōura on the Friday night and then I came back up on the Sunday,” she said. “It [flight] was very convenient and very efficient and it was awesome, and I got to surprise my fiancé which was super fun." Prior to this flight Clifford usually flew in or out of either Blenheim or Christchurch. "It [flight] saves me four hours of driving and paying for the parking so it's definitely worth it." The service was great, it was very fast and very efficient she said. "The plane was very small but you get an incredible view. You see more of the country and see more of the scenery, so it was really cool,” she said. Clifford said she would be using this flight at least once a fortnight. 

"...probably the first time you could fly directly into Kaikōura"  No, there have been other operators, Three operating services to Wellington and two to Christchurch. Can you think what they are? See http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2014/11/kaikoura-airfield-history.html

For more on Air Kaikoura see -

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