Air Chathams has announced it will take over a flight service between Paraparaumu and Auckland after Air New Zealand pulled out.
From August 20, Air Chathams will operate 36 flights a week between Auckland and Kāpiti Coast, a new regional route for the family-owned airline, which will offer travellers up to 1152 seats per week on board its fleet of Saab 340 aircraft.
"As an airline that is committed to the regions in New Zealand, we are absolutely delighted to be launching a new service in Kāpiti," said owner Craig Emeny.
"We think the route has a huge amount of potential, and we are really looking forward to getting to know the local community and delivering a quality flight service that residents can be proud of.
"Making sure that we deliver a frequent and quality service that people can rely on has always been at the heart of our business operation, and we are excited about delivering an airline service that will make a positive contribution to Kāpiti's future regional economic growth," Emeny said.
The airline has been negotiating with the Kāpiti Coast District Council for months, after Air New Zealand stopped flying the route to Auckland.
The council agreed to support Air Chathams through the 'Fly Kāpiti' campaign, which includes a $50,000 marketing investment, which Air New Zealand with be matching.
Kāpiti Coast Airport, which is owned by Todd Property, has also offered Air Chathams a free terminal lease for the first year, along with other ongoing discounts on operating charges to support the successful start-up of a new service.
"We would like to acknowledge the support we have received from these organisations. They have all worked hard to offer substantial support, to ensure that a direct service from Kāpiti to Auckland will resume," Emeny said.
Mayor K Gurunathan thanked the many players involved in attracting an airline back to Kāpiti to offer this direct to Auckland service.
"From the minute it was announced Kāpiti flights were being withdrawn I told Kāpiti to 'watch this space'. Now all the hard work with business, community and government to rally support to attract and secure air services for our district has paid off.
"The future economic development opportunities the link offers Kāpiti are significant.
"We have a buoyant district economy and the ability for people to fly the Kāpiti to Auckland route really strengthens business, family and visitor connections and will bolster our visitor economy.
"We know from our conversations with passengers on the previous service that the convenience of this direct route from Kāpiti is a big part of people's decision-making when choosing to fly from our local airport."
Established in the mid-1980s on the Chatham Islands, flying live crayfish to the mainland, Air Chathams is New Zealand's largest privately owned airline, operating more than 80 flights per week between Auckland, Whakatane, Whanganui, Wellington, Christchurch and the Chathams.