If you can afford to splash the cash, it's about to get a little easier to get up the East Coast, with the launch of a new direct flight between Napier and Gisborne.

Hawke's Bay based airline Air Napier will be running a regular commercial flight between the two cities, kicking off with two flights on Wednesday.

CEO Shah Aslam , who took over the company in November, said Air Napier had been receiving a lot of feedback from people wanting the route.

"The public are crying out for regular, scheduled flights connecting Napier direct to Hamilton, Tauranga, Gisborne, Palmerston North, and more."


"While the beauty of the New Zealand landscape is undeniable, the hills and rugged landscape that go along with that make commuting by car a lengthy exercise, to say the least.

"People are tired of wasting hours of their time sitting in cars, or sitting in airport lounges waiting for connecting flights from Auckland or Wellington."

Air Napier has yet to decide how many times a week the service will run. Aslam said it would take six weeks before it became clear how much demand there was.

At least to start off with, the flights will be pricey - $299 for a seat, or $349 if you want to sit up front with the pilot.

"We've gotten mixed reviews about the pricing, but the reality is everyone is expecting the $59, $69 which Air New Zealand does," Aslam said.

"It's just not possible for us to drop it to that price."

He said even at the $299 mark, the company was not taking home a massive profit.

"This is a long term thing, we could do a $99 flight but in two months Air Napier would not exist."


He hoped to drop the prices once the company's fleet was expanded.

"There's definitely a potential to reduce the pricing on some of these routes."

He hoped to run flights between other eastern cities.

He said major airlines in New Zealand were not neglecting the region-to-region flights, but did not have appropriate aircraft to make them viable.

"If you look at Air New Zealand's fleet now, the smallest plane they have is probably a 55 seater."

"Filling a 55 seater plan three times a day on a daily basis, between a region to region is probably not the most economical way to go."


Air Napier's planes seat between three to six people, and they are hoping to expand the fleet to include planes with a slightly higher capacity, up around the nine person mark.

Former owner Gary Peacock had built a solid base, which allowed the company to expand into doing commercial flights, Aslam said.

As well as the new commercial flights, Air Napier will continue to run charted flights, medical transfers, scenic flights, aerial photography and surveying.

It also provides aircraft servicing for private jets flying into Hawke's Bay.

The first flight will take off from Gisborne at 8am on Wednesday, and land in Napier at 8.35.