Air New Zealand to fly scouts to Marlborough for National Scout Jamboree
The scouts have struck a deal with Air New Zealand to charter about a dozen planes to Marlborough later this year.
The aircraft, loaded with up to 2000 children and leaders, will descend on Marlborough Airport over a couple of days.
It is expected to be the largest influx of passengers ever seen at the airport.
The scouts are coming for their 21st Annual New Zealand Jamboree in Renwick, near Blenheim, from December 29 to January 7.
Scouts New Zealand jamboree director Guy Beatson said more than 5000 scouts would be arriving in the region by land, sea and air.
About 11 or 12 aircraft would be landing at the airport, from all over New Zealand.
"It's probably going to be the biggest movement of people into Marlborough Airport, almost ever," Beatson said.
"It's pretty significant."
Marlborough Airport chief executive Dean Heiford agreed it would be one of the largest influx of people the airport had seen.
"It's probably the biggest charter flight of people through the airport in many years."
Scouts would come from across New Zealand and from other countries including the Cook Islands, Samoa and Australia.
Many of the scouts from the Top of the South and from Christchurch would be driving into Blenheim, while between 1000 and 1500 scouts would probably take the Interislander ferry from the North Island.
Air New Zealand pilot Carl Brightwell had been working with the scouts to organise the flights, Beatson said.
"He's put together this thing we are calling the Great Scout Airlift," Beatson said.
Jamboree spokeswoman Jane Hansen said the scouts would be putting up a "tent city" at the Giesen Centre in Renwick.
Scouts between the ages of 10 and 14-years-old would attend.
Jamboree youth services director Helen Warriner said the jamboree programme would be split into various activities.
The activities would include sailing, rowing, rafting and swimming in Picton, and taking part in orienteering, a confidence course, night hikes, shooting and archery in Mt Richmond Forest Park.
There would also be a set of activities at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.
National jamboree committee members were returning to Marlborough for a meeting this month.
- The Marlborough Express