Air NZ pulls Kapiti service: 'It's appalling' says mayor

Air New Zealand will cease operations in and out of Kapiti Coast Airport on April 3. Photo / David Haxton.
Air New Zealand will cease operations in and out of Kapiti Coast Airport on April 3. Photo / David Haxton.

Air New Zealand is pulling flights between Auckland and Kapiti Coast from April.

The domestic service has operated since 2011 and the national carrier says passengers booked on flights are April will be "re-accommodated on alternative services".

"Customer demand for domestic travel continues to experience steady growth with the airline adding 630,000 more seats nationwide this financial year alone and an expectation that it will further grow the regional turboprop network alone by 4.5 percent or 265,000 seats in the coming financial year, " Air New Zealand said this morning.

"Against this backdrop, the airline is making domestic schedule adjustments to better match its aircraft seat capacity to areas of growing customer demand and is committed to continuing to grow the wider regional network.

"On withdrawal, Air New Zealand will extend support to any other airline that operates the route as it has in other ports," the airline said.

Air NZ will fly its last Auckland-Kapiti service will run on April 3.

Kapiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan said it was "appalling" that the national carrier would treat a community in this manner.

He said he was given 24-hours notice that Air New Zealand was pulling the service.

"I would have expected four months' notice or more that this was going to happen," he said.

Air NZ last Saturday attended an open day at Kapiti airport - an asset the mayor said was of historic importance after Queen Elizabeth landing there when she visited New Zealand in the 1950s.

The council would now talk to other airlines, such as Air Chathams and Origin Air.

"Kapiti's growth is a rising tide, we've got multi-million dollar investments in infrastructure. We don't depend on Air New Zealand for our economic development, we will have other players coming in," he said.

Air NZ has been approached for comment.

Airport owner Todd Property this morning issued the following statement:

"Air New Zealand is the only commercial airline to run services from Kapiti Coast Airport to Auckland, and the loss of the connection will be disappointing to the local community and passengers who use the service," the property company said.

"Kapiti Coast Airport has worked hard over many years to support airline services, maintaining the highest operational standards in safety, security and customer service.

Kapiti Coast Airport is carefully considering Air New Zealand's announcement, and what it will mean for the airport. This will include consideration of alternative airlines that may be interested in operating the Auckland-Kapiti route," Todd Property said.

- NZ Herald

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