28 Dec 2017

Sounds Air cancels Kaikōura-Blenheim service

11:33 am on 28 December 2017

Kaikōura and Blenheim are losing their Sounds Air passenger service, only weeks after the main road connecting the two towns was reopened.

The seawall along a section of State Highway 1 north of Kaikōura.

Vehicles on a stretch of SH1 when it had just reopened. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

The area was devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake last November, cutting off State Highway One - the South Island's main transport corridor.

The only way between Kaikōura and Blenheim was an inland route, which was substantially longer, or by air.

The road reopened earlier this month, just over a year after the earthquake.

Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford said the airline was operating six passenger services a week while the road was being repaired.

"We had spare aircraft and pilots during the middle of the day so not long after the earthquake we started that service daily, and it has been very good."

But Mr Crawford said the service was no longer needed.

"It was always expected that we would cancel because, with the road reopened, it's only an hour-and-a-half hour's drive," he said. "No one is going to fly that."

He said the Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft used for the service would now be used for regular passenger services out of Wellington.

The last flight is tomorrow at 12:45pm.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs