Kiwi Air to test Taupo interest

Kiwi Regional Airlines could offer Taupo flights in the future.
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Kiwi Regional Airlines could offer Taupo flights in the future.

Kiwi Air has its sights on Taupo with a test flight next week set to gauge interest in the route.

Taupo air travellers sighed in relief when their council signed a six-year deal with Sounds Air last year.

The success of the Marlborough based airline, which filled the Taupo-Wellington route abandoned by Air New Zealand, along with Taupo's growth, is now being closely watched by another air operator- Hamilon-based Kiwi Regional Airlines.

Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson is has been in talks with the Taupo Airport about providing Taupo flights.
MARK TAYLOR/FAIRFAX MEDIA

Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson is has been in talks with the Taupo Airport about providing Taupo flights.

Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson said nothing has been "set in concrete" but the Hamilton based-airline has been in talks with the Taupo Airport about providing Taupo flights.

It already flies between Hamilton, Dunedin, Nelson, and Tauranga.

Next Wednesday the airline will be breaking into its regular Dunedin-Nelson-Hamilton scheduled service to run it's first charter by whisking American rock legends Huey Lewis & The News into Taupo for the Summer Concert Tour.

The airline is offering $29 seats from Taupo to Hamilton on the same day (12.45pm).

Wilson said the charter would be used as a way of gauging the level of interest in providing more regular Taupo flights.

"[We're] excited to be flying into Taupo for the first, and hopefully not the last time," he said.

"We have often looked at Taupo and although we don't have any long-term plans set in concrete it is fair to say we are constantly reviewing and looking at how other airports fit with our future business model. Taupo is definitely on that list."

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He said the airline was not interested in going head to head with other providers

Taupo mayor David Trewavas said having more Taupo flights would bring more benefits to the region.

"The airport is completely open to anyone as long as they meet aviation and the airport's requirements so it is very good news," he said.

"Our regional growth is substantial at the moment and there has been a lot of interest from people wanting to visit so this could have a significant impact on tourism."

Trewavas said the Sounds Air service, which provides at least three return flights each weekday and two return flight on Saturday and Sunday, had been well received.

Despite the council agreeing to guarantee the first three seats on each flight it hadn't needed to.

"Everyone that flies on it raves about it," he said.

To book on the one-off flight visit flykiwiair.co.nz or phone 07 444 5020.

 - Stuff

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