Kiwi Regional Airlines ditches Chch flight plans

  • 03/05/2016
Kiwi Regional Airlines (Facebook)
Kiwi Regional Airlines (Facebook)

Kiwi Regional Airlines is ditching plans to fly into Christchurch from later this month, in a bid to hunker down during winter months and expand in summer.

Chief executive Ewan Wilson says the company had difficulty getting slot times they preferred and terminal and ramp space, meaning they would have to change their schedule.

The airline planned to do flights between Nelson and Christchurch and Dunedin and Nelson twice a week, and Tauranga, Nelson and Christchurch, but now will be sticking to a "skeleton schedule network for the four months over winter", beginning from June 1.

The Wednesday service will stop operating, and from June 13 the Monday service will stop.

"We're a leisure airline. We don't compete for the corporate routes which are year round," Mr Wilson told Newshub.

"We rely on family visiting family and going direct region to region, and that is clearly seasonal."

He says the company are just reacting to what the market wants --  a reduction in winter and ramped-up service over summer.

Mr Wilson says the decision is not a sign of any trouble for the carrier, just a seasonal adjustment to the schedule.

"Kiwi is operating and will continue to operate, and will adjust the schedule due to seasonal peaks and troughs."

The decision comes as Air New Zealand announces increasing direct flights between Tauranga and Christchurch.

Kiwi Regional Airlines runs flights to Hamilton, Nelson, Tauranga and Dunedin.

It has been operating for six months with one plane, but Mr Wilson says the airline will grow when it's appropriate. A decision on crowd funding has not yet been made.

"In our schedule post October our intention is to operate 7 days a week," he says.

"We have had a very good first summer and know we'll have an even better second summer."