Air Chathams is putting their "heart and soul" into making their Kapiti to Auckland service sustainable.
General Manager of the family-owned airline Duane Emeny told Beach FM today that while there’s been a service gap of 3 months, as long as they provide a safe, reliable service they’re confident the community will support the route.
He says it’s early days, and the airline has got to “build into it”, but the numbers to date are giving them a lot of confidence moving forward.
Their first commercial flight from Kapiti to Auckland this morning was full and Mr Emeny says that they’re currently at about a 50% load factor going to Auckland this week and about 45% for the return flights.
“Although that doesn’t sound amazing, it actually gives us a lot of confidence because it’s significantly better than the load factors that we had when we started both Wanganui and Whakatane,” says Mr Emeny.
“The community here is very similar to Wanganui and we’ve made it work there, so the numbers are telling us it will work and it’s just a case of getting that local support but from our end we’ve got to provide a good, reliable service”
Heart & Soul
Beach FM asked Mr Emeny about the reliability of the Air Chathams service, given some locals had lost faith in Air New Zealand due to frequent delays or cancellations.
“I can only go on what we’ve managed to achieve in our other regional destinations and that’s well over 90% on-time performance,” says Mr Emeny.
“It’s really important for a private company that we make this work, so we’re going to be putting our heart and soul into it and reliability is exactly what the customer needs – a safe, reliable service and that’s what we’ll be providing.”
He says that Air Chathams wants to be viewed as the 'community airline' for the Kapiti Coast and Horowhenua region.
Interview was conducted by John Hayes on the Morning Magazine programme today. The interview will be reprised on our Week That Was programme this Saturday from 10am-3pm and will soon be available on our Interviews & Podcasts page later this week.
Bottom Photo (left to right): Kapiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan, Otaki MP Nathan Guy, Beach FM Managing Director Corran Crispe, Air Chathams General Manager Duane Emeny and airline founder of Craig Emeny.