Air Chathams reinstates flights to Kāpiti Coast

Airline Air Chathams is bringing back flights from Kāpiti to Auckland after they were scrapped by Air New Zealand earlier this year.

From August 20 the airline will operate 36 flights each week from Auckland to Kāpiti, and passengers can now purchase tickets on the airline's website.

The announcement comes four months after Air New Zealand made the controversial move to scrap the service in addition to a number of other regional routes.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said at the time that the airline had "turned its back on regional New Zealand", sparking a feud that spiralled into him calling for resignations from the company's board.

Otaki MP Nathan Guy told Newshub the local community are "embracing" Air Chathams, because they don't have many other options to connect to Auckland.

He said they were "really gutted that they only got three weeks' notice from Air New Zealand before they effectively kicked the community in the guts and said we're not flying out of here anymore".

He said it's important for business, for connecting family and friends, and for tourism, to have the Auckland-Kāpiti flights reinstated.

Kāpiti Mayor K Gurunathan said: "It's been an absolute team effort and we thank everyone involved. Kāpiti Coast Airport, Air New Zealand, our Chamber of Commerce, neighbouring mayors, ministers and MPs have all gone the extra mile to raise our profile in what's become a national conversation about the needs of regional New Zealand."

Air New Zealand is helping with marketing to promote the new service, but Mr Guy said the community is still "really disappointed" with the airline.

He said Air Chathams has "a proven track record of backing the regions".

Air Chathams already operates in Auckland, Whakatane, Whanganui, Wellington, Christchurch and its Chatham Islands' home base.