Originair flights between Palmerston North and Nelson resume
Originair winged back into Palmerston North on Friday afternoon, reviving a regular service between the city and Nelson after a five-month break.
The small airline began flying between the two centres in August 2015 after Air New Zealand had withdrawn its service earlier in the year.
But the airline was grounded in April when the Civil Aviation Authority placed temporary restrictions stopping Air Freight NZ Ltd from operating Originair's planes.
As the link resumed, a small nine-seater aircraft operated by Air2There would be flying the route for Originair.
The larger JetStream would move back into service within a few months.
Originair managing director Robert Inglis said he could not be more pleased about the timing of the return of the service this weekend.
"If it had been last weekend, we would not have got off the ground, as Nelson Airport was closed by weather last Friday and Saturday."
Originair had not been a complete stranger to Palmerston North during the break, providing some charter services.
He said the plan was to slowly start building up the service to higher frequency during the high summer season.
"The support is stronger for the Friday to Sunday market at the moment, but we will start to build the schedule."
Inglis said so far there was good support for seats on the flights in both directions.
Palmerston North Airport chief executive David Lanham said it was good to see another route restored.
He said the schedule was initially targeted toward a seasonal, leisure market, and he hoped it would be extended to cater for the business market.
"It is a really welcome return of a connection that proved very popular.
"Robert Inglis and his team have been working really hard to get this far. It's hard for the little guys out there, and we really hope they can consolidate and grow."
The initial schedule would see Originair flying from Nelson to Palmerston North on Monday and Wednesday early in the morning, and mid-afternoon on Fridays and Sundays.
The aircraft would return from Palmerston North to Nelson on Monday and Wednesday mornings, Friday and Sunday afternoons.