The gloomy sky provided a fitting backdrop for the departure of Flight NZ 8860 this morning - the last time Air New Zealand will fly from Kāpiti Coast airport.
Locals, the Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC), the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce and Beach FM were amongst those who farewelled the 7am flight today.
KCDC offered the passengers on the flight, commemorative “ka kite ano” (see you again) t-shirts to mark the occasion.
Acting Mayor James Cootes, Council members and other community representatives were at the airport to acknowledge the last Air New Zealand flight out of Kāpiti and demonstrate Kāpiti’s support for a future service.
A KCDC spokesperson said: “Whether that’s another operator or a reinstatement of the route by Air NZ, our door is always open to future opportunities”.
Dave, a passenger on the last flight, who caught the service weekly to Auckland, told Beach FM he was still bewildered by Air New Zealand’s decision to pull the plug.
He would be looking to fly from Palmerston North from now on to avoid the Wellington traffic.
Meanwhile, Air Chathams has given the strongest signal yet that they will take on the Kāpiti to Auckland air service being vacated by Air New Zealand.
Air Chathams CEO Craig Emeny says the family airline is encouraged by all the positive messages and is “looking forward to being in a position soon, to provide the essential air services the Kapiti region requires”.
He says Air New Zealand has been very supportive of their efforts to take on the Paraparaumu-Auckland route.
He says it’s evident from their discussions that Air New Zealand “cares greatly for the continued development and sustainability of the Kapiti region”.
Mr Emeny says: “Air NZ shares our goal to continue that growth through collaboration and support with community groups and businesses”.
Air New Zealand commenced daily services between Paraparaumu and Auckland in October 2011. In 2013 daily flights were added between Paraparaumu and Christchurch and then scrapped in 2015.
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