18 May 2018

Airline pushes to save Kāpiti airport from demise

12:48 pm on 18 May 2018

Efforts are continuing to secure the future of the Kāpiti Coast Airport, a month after Air New Zealand ceased flying from it.

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Kāpiti Coast Airport's future in the commercial arena is still uncertain as talks continue between interested parties for approval. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The national carrier announced in March it was cutting its daily service to and from Paraparaumu, sparking anger and dismay from locals.

National's Otaki MP Nathan Guy held a meeting yesterday with interested parties, including Air Chathams and the Kāpiti Coast District Council, regarding Air Chathams' bid to use the airport.

Mr Guy said the Kāpiti community valued having a commercial airport on its doorstep that linked with Auckland, enabling connections to be made by business travellers, those going overseas or just visiting family and friends further north.

However, he said gaining the necessary approvals for that to happen was taking longer than was anticipated.

"But Air Chathams is encouraged by the progress that has taken place, and all parties remain committed to a positive outcome," he said.

Air Chathams chief executive Craig Emeny said the airline had a huge potential in the region, and was working hard with the council and the airport to bring its service to the Kāpiti Coast.

"As an airline we need to be meticulous in our approach, and ensure that all operational and regulatory issues have been thoroughly investigated, well before our planes touch the tarmac in Kāpiti," Mr Emeny said.

"But Air Chathams is encouraged by the progress that has taken place, and all parties remain committed to a positive outcome."

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones spoke out against Air New Zealand last month saying the airline was short-changing services to the regions.

Air New Zealand's decision to suspend its service from Kāpiti followed a move three years ago to stop flying to Kaitaia, Whakatāne, Westport and Taupō.

It was the only commercial airline operating flights between Auckland and Kāpiti Coast Airport in Paraparaumu - one of New Zealand's few privately owned airports.

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