Growing demand for flights in and out of Whanganui has led Air Chathams to put a larger plane on the route over winter.

The airline will put its new ATR 72 on the Whanganui-Auckland route for weekend flights for the next three months. The ATR 72 can seat up to 68 passengers and is used for charters around New Zealand.

It is a twin-engine turboprop with six-bladed propellers, developed and produced in France and Italy.

Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny said after nearly three years of operating the Whanganui service, peak flight schedules were now at a level to be able to support the higher capacity aircraft.


"This is a brilliant achievement for the airline to have grown demand for the Whanganui sector in such a short space of time," Emeny said.

"Our success is very much due to the support and commitment of the Whanganui community from the beginning and the continued support and loyalty shown over time.

"Whanganui has become like a second home for us so we are really proud to bring our newest and biggest aircraft into the region over winter."

The ATR flights to Whanganui will start on June 7 with a 3pm departure from Auckland.

For the next few months, Friday afternoon and evening flights, Saturday's 8am flight departing from Whanganui, all Sunday flights and the 6.45am departure on Monday to Auckland will use the larger plane.

The ATR charter flights will resume in September.

Mayor Hamish McDouall said Air Chathams had serviced the community well since it took over the Whanganui-Auckland route.

"With an increase in Whanganui's population and the interest we are getting from the rest of the country I am not surprised that an ATR72 has been added to their fleet to assist with greater passenger demand," McDouall said.


"Air Chathams helps maintain Whanganui's relationship with our biggest city, whether that be for work, to visit friends and family, or as a gateway for international travel."