Hutt leaders have lobbied regional councillors this morning to extend the airport bus beyond Wellington City, calling the current situation a "slap in the face".
But councillors haven't budged on the issue too much, although they have agreed to invite submitters to comment on the extension of the airport bus service beyond the central train station to other parts of the Wellington Region.
The Airport Flyer has been off the road since NZ Bus pulled the plug on privately running the service last year.
As of November 2020, Wellington Airport appeared to be in charge of getting it back up and running, having selected Tranzit as the preferred operator.
A new service was set to be launched this year.
But in a twist of events, Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) announced earlier this week that it was taking control of the service.
It's unclear what happened between the parties behind the scenes, but the new situation means the bus will now be incorporated into the Metlink public transport network.
The proposal is before the GWRC Transport Committee this morning for consideration.
The new service has only ever been considered for between the airport and the central railway station. Neither the airport's nor council's proposals include reinstating it to Lower Hutt.
Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry submitted to councillors that he supported the service being brought in-house but was disappointed it was not being extended to his constituents.
He said the paper under consideration dismissed the idea without any supporting data and facts.
"It is a bit of a slap in the face to our city and regional ratepayers."
Barry pointed out the service had been running to Lower Hutt for more than 20 years before NZ Bus discontinued it.
"That holds some weight."
He asked councillors to amend the paper and instruct council officers to prepare options for the service including running it to Lower Hutt's CBD.
Hutt South list MP Chris Bishop also submitted to councillors saying the Airport Flyer was a valued service in Lower Hutt and was well used.
He said the ending of the service has been "met with dismay".
Bishop rejected the argument the service could not be run to Hutt City because it wasn't economical.
"The whole point of a regional public transport network is that there are cross subsidies."
Bishop said some services were economic and some weren't, "but you look at the sum of its parts, the totality of the network".
Wellington Airport's chief executive Steve Sanderson previously said in a statement they have been working closely with Tranzit to launch a new and improved service early this year.
"Having invested a lot of time in establishing this service, we are obviously disappointed Greater Wellington is proposing to take it over under the Metlink brand, but we are working with Greater Wellington to enable its service to begin as soon as practically possible."
When asked why its partnership with Tranzit didn't go ahead and why GWRC took over, the airport referred questions to the council.
A GWRC spokesman said Metlink was able to put forward a PTOM service as part of the regional public transport plan because the commercial contract with NZ Bus had ceased.