22 Mar 2011

Demand for agricultural aviation picks up

6:54 am on 22 March 2011

The owner of a Manawatu-based agricultural aviation company says the industry has picked up recently after years in the doldrums.

Hallett Griffin, from Griffin Ag-Air, says it's been an extremely tough four years for aerial operators, but from the beginning of February demand has picked up throughout the country.

Mr Griffin says the fortunes of the agricultural aviation industry rely heavily on the fortunes of farmers.

Better planning 'could save service'

In Marlborough, a group of farmers is looking at how they can save he region's agricultural aviation service, where they say operators are struggling to remain profitable because of a lack of regular flying hours.

Two fixed-wing aircraft are available in Marlborough for agricultural work such as spraying, spreading and seeding.

Marlborough Agricultural Aviation Steering Committee chair William Grigg says the committee believes there is enough work for both aircraft but the workload at present is poorly organised which meant operators outside the region were often called in to do the work.

Mr Grigg says the main solution is better planning and co-ordination between farmers and the plane operators.

He says the Marlborough Agricultural Aviation Steering Committee aims to come up with a workable solution by the end of June.