21 Nov 2014

Four firms vying to fly Far North route

7:23 pm on 21 November 2014

Aviation companies are lining up to provide regular flights to Kaitaia after Air New Zealand's decision to abandon the service.

The national carrier announced last week it was pulling out of the Far North route, as well Whakatane and Westport, because it was uneconomic.

The Jetstream 32 plane seats 19 people.

The Jetstream 32 plane seats 19 people. Photo: SUPPLIED

The company that runs Kaitaia airport, Far North Holdings, said today that four aviation firms are now vying for the chance to provide regular flights between Kaitaia and Auckland.

Chief executive Andy Nock said the council-owned company was evaluating the bids, but believed Kaitaia could end up with a better service than it was getting from Air New Zealand.

He said the problem had always been that morning flights left too late to get people to Auckland or Wellington in time for meetings.

However, small air operators all said they were willing to meet the need for an earlier flight.

The latest company to offer a service is Inflite - an Auckland-based operator that flies charters to Kaitaia using 19-seater Jetstream aircraft similar to the planes used by Air New Zealand on the Far North route.

Local business people say they need flights leaving about 7am - not 9am - like the Air New Zealand service.

Inflite manager Paul Aston said the company would meet customer demand.

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Air New Zealand says it would no longer fly to Kaitaia, Westport and Whakatane following a revamp of its regional services. Photo: RNZ

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