The Kapiti Coast District Council is actively looking at the traffic lights issue that prospective Kapiti-Auckland air service provider Air Chathams has raised.
Air Chathams told Beach FM today that while performance data confirmed they could operate their SAAB aircraft at Kapiti airport, potential “performance restrictions” could cause passenger disruption/off-loading, more frequently than they would like.
Rather than reducing seat numbers, Air Chathams said one solution is to operate a traffic lights system north of the airport to momentarily halt traffic, but only “when required for maximum performance take-off”.
Kāpiti Coast District Council Chief Executive Wayne Maxwell says discussions with Air Chathams are looking promising and they have expressed strong interest in establishing themselves here.
“Being a family owned and operated business they are a good fit for Kāpiti and we are doing what we can to help them make a decision, this includes taking a look at traffic lights on Kāpiti Road,” he says.
“We believe that our community will agree that if stopping traffic once or twice a day is what it takes to make it work, we need to see if we can make that happen,” says Mr Maxwell.
“Events of the past few weeks have shown that there is strong business, community and government support for maintaining and growing regional air links between Kāpiti and other parts of New Zealand.
“With an average 80 per cent loading on the Air New Zealand Kāpiti-Auckland service, the Council is confident that Air Chathams will be able to come in and hit the ground running,” says Mr Maxwell.
Air Chathams estimates that, on average, the traffic lights would be required about 10 times a week.
Mr Emeny says there would be “minimal disruption to traffic but it will have a huge effect” on their ability to provide the service.
Air Chathams are exploring a number of other issues before making their final decision, as they are looking "to offer a strong, viable service going forward".