It's been a bleak six weeks at Taupō Airport but commercial flights resume next week and more are expected to be added in June.
Airport general manager Rhys Frearson told last Monday's Taupō Airport Authority committee meeting that there had been nothing going on at the airport during the lockdown.
His report to the committee showed that passenger numbers for January and February were ahead of the same time in previous years.
"It's been a pretty bleak month and a trying time here," Mr Frearson said.
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Without any air movements, airport revenue has been slashed while fixed costs remain.
"The biggest thing we are trying to do is cut costs to an absolute minimum without affecting our compliance or air certificate so we've done what we can but it's meant that [operations manager] Kim Gard and I are working some pretty extreme hours carrying out runway inspections and I've been out there shooting birds...but it's short-term pain for long-term gain."
Mr Frearson said at alert level 1 the airport would be guaranteed a flight a day seven days a week and was hoping to get back to business as usual, which would be driven by demand.
In the meantime though, he told the committee that Sounds Air had proposed adding a daily link to Auckland using Barrier Air facilities at Auckland Airport.
But mayor David Trewavas said he wanted to check first whether Air New Zealand, the airport's biggest customer, would be happy with that before giving the go-ahead and the airline had undertaken to get back to him that afternoon.
He said after the meeting that Air NZ had agreed to bring its Auckland-Taupō schedule forward to next month. It had initially said it would only resume its Taupō service in level 1.
"They are definitely guaranteed to come back and indications are it's going to be early next month...I said we'll take what we can get but it's definitely one flight [daily] at this stage and there will be an increase if demand increases."
After the meeting, Mr Frearson told the Taupō & Turangi Weekender that Sounds Air was resuming its Wellington-Taupō flights from Monday, May 18 and will be running a return flight to Wellington on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the time being, with a possible evening service on Sundays.
The service for the most part would be fairly normal except that only passengers would be allowed in the airport terminal at level 2 with contact tracing, and the terminal would be locked between flights to avoid the need for repeated cleaning.
At the airport authority meeting Mr Frearson said that while the short to medium term ahead looked "pretty average" the longer term looked "pretty good" for the airport.
"While we are going to take hit through level 2 come level 1 we should be better off than a lot of other airports...getting back to level one and having 50 per cent of our operation is quite good."