Air Chathams introducing new, bigger aircraft on Whakatāne service

  • 11/11/2019
Air Chathams SAAB 340 and a plate of Tim Tam biscuits
There will also be a toilet on the new aircraft. Photo credit: Air Chathams/Newshub.

Air Chathams has announced the introduction of a SAAB 340 for its flights between Auckland and Whakatāne.

The regional airline says demand is continuing to grow for air travel to and from the eastern Bay of Plenty town.

The new SAAB can carry up to 34 more passengers than the aircraft that is currently being used on the route, which is a Fairchild Metroliner.

Air Chathams will also have a flight attendant onboard serving tea, coffee and Tim Tams.

There will also be a toilet on the aircraft, unlike on the Metroliner.

"We're really excited to begin bringing the SAAB to Whakatāne," says Duane Emeny, Air Chathams' general manager. 

"We know our regular fliers will appreciate the extra comforts provided and this will give us some flexibility across the service, where other flights exceed the Metroliner capacity. We hope to be able to offer the SAAB service more permanently in the future."

Whakatāne District Mayor Judy Turner says the SAAB service will help to boost visitor numbers to the Whakatāne District, just in time for the busy summer season. 

"This is great news for our District, and will be beneficial for locals and visitors alike," says Mayor Turner. 

"We're grateful that our investment into the airport is being supported by Air Chathams, and the SAAB service is a great example of the airline's commitment to the Whakatāne District."

The first flights begin on the November 29.