12 Feb 2015

Air contract for Kaitaia awarded

4:28 pm on 12 February 2015

Great Barrier Airlines has won the contract to provide regular flights to Kaitaia, starting in April.

Four airlines bid for the service after the national carrier announced late last year it was pulling out because the route was unprofitable.

It was one of a number of provincial routes axed by Air New Zealand.

The council-owned company Far North Holdings said Great Barrier Airlines will put on three flights a day between Kaitaia and Auckland starting at 7.30am.

The Auckland-based airline already flies four days a week between Whangarei and the Far North for the Northland District Health Board.

Business people have been unhappy for some time that Air New Zealand flights left too late in the morning to get them to Auckland or Wellington in time for meetings.

It plans to buy a 12-seater Cessna for the Kaitaia route and will charge a flat fare of $180 for a one-way flight.

Far North Holdings chief executive, Andy Nock said the flexibility and flat fare structure put the airline's bid head and shoulders above the rest.

"There was a combination of factors from the extra flight schedule that Great Barrier was offering. The early morning flights which allowed business commuters to connect through to Wellington or do a full day in Auckland and then return in the evening. Price was obviously quite critical and that was certainly emphasised by the survey we conducted."

Great Barrier Airlines currently flies between Auckland, Great Barrier Island, Whangarei, Kaitaia, North Shore and Whitianga.