12 Apr 2018

Air Chathams may fly to Norfolk direct from Auckland

7:39 am on 12 April 2018

New Zealand airline is stepping up to take on the troubled Norfolk Island/Auckland route.

Air Chathams, which flies a number of routes around the New Zealand mainland and to the Chatham Islands, is hoping to get the go-ahead and be able to begin flights toward the end of the year.

Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny.

Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The route is critical to the tourism sector on Norfolk Island with New Zealand once providing 50 percent of the island's visitors.

But with first Air New Zealand ending its direct flight and then, recently, Norfolk Airlines, the island's tourism industry has been suffering.

Air Chathams Duane Emeny, though, was confident his airline could make the route work.

"The reason we think we can do it is that we actually already operate a very similar service between Auckland and the Chatham Islands," Mr Emeny said.

"In terms of distance between the two points it is almost identical. A lot of similarities there in terms of isolated island communities and how we operate into them.

"We have been doing it for over 30 years. We have got a good idea of what works and we have got the aircraft that can make it work," he said.

Mr Emeny said they would be using Convair 580 aircraft which carry 50 passengers.