Operator sells to spread wings


Salt Air has sold its successful scheduled North Shore airport/Whangarei/Kerikeri service to Flight Hauraki of Auckland.

Salt Air started the service in 2008 for business commuters and to bring time-strapped tourists quickly into the heart of the north for air and land-based activities.

Passengers are delivered to and from the airport by shuttle bus, and scheduled flights call at Whangarei and Kerikeri.

Chief executive Grant Harnish says he now wants to streamline the operation and concentrate on the tourism-based services.

"The scheduled services only generate only about 20 per cent of our operational income but take 80 per cent of our time to run.

"It's been a very successful concept and certainly put us on the map but it's the right time for someone else to pick it up and run with it.

"We are a very small company and we don't have the ability to run a base in Auckland which is really needed to take the market to the next stage.

"Flight Hauraki is Auckland-based and has the resources to nail that business. We absolutely wish them all the best. We already have quite a synergy and will continue to work closely together."

Flight Hauraki director Paul McSherry said his company owned and leased aircraft for a growing operation, particularly around the Hauraki Gulf, including Gt Barrier Is, and ran charter flights for government and private organisations.

Two planes would deliver the service bought from Salt Air.

He said Flight Hauraki intended running similar services to Salt Air's, operating flights into Northland twice-daily, Monday to Friday. Salt Air would continue offering its scenic day tours from Auckland using the Flight Hauraki service.

The sale is effective from November 1.

- Northern Advocate

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