AVIATION

New Flight Services: New Plymouth Airport New Flight Services: New Plymouth Airport CREDIT: Shaun Fennell

Added air service delights New Plymouth residents

Thursday 28 February 2013, 1:26PM
By NP Linked Taranaki
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TARANAKI

New Plymouth residents are delighted to be told of a new airline in there neighbourhood. 

Sun Air have confirmed that they will be making direct flights to and from New Plymouth to Rotorua, Hamilton and Tauranga.

Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are the only current destinations from Taranaki.

 

Tauranga-based domestic flight operator Sunair Aviation will start the twice-daily flights in the next few weeks.

Sunair co-owner Bev Power said the new service would provide Monday to Friday morning and afternoon return flights.

Sunair's aircraft fleet includes nine six-seat twin engine Piper Aztec and four four-seat Cessna 172 airplanes.

Both aircraft types will be flying in and out of New Plymouth as required, she said.

Sunair provided a similar service about four years ago but it didn't take off at the time, she said.

A decision to reinstate the service was made after the Taranaki District Health Board requested it include New Plymouth, she said.

In a written statement the Taranaki District Health Board said it asked Sunair last year whether a service between New Plymouth and Hamilton was being considered.

Sunair would also offer a service targeted at business passengers and government personnel wanting to make day visits to a region, she said.

The new flights will cost $390 one-way or $560 return.

Within 24 hours of a flight there was also a one-way special where any remaining seats could be picked up for $150.

Return trips to the three destinations flying with Air New Zealand costs upwards of $500 if booked one month in advance.

Flight times are 45 minutes to Hamilton and one hour to Rotorua and Tauranga.

Leisure travellers were not Sunair's target market but they were more than welcome to embrace the service, she said.

"Certainly we would welcome them aboard but mostly it's corporate clients and government people.

New Plymouth airport manager Kevin Hill said he had not been told of the new service but welcomed its introduction.

Mrs Power's husband, Dan, would travel to New Plymouth next week to discuss the service, she said.

SunAir, which has been in business for 25 years, also operates services from Auckland, Napier, Great Barrier Island, Whitianga and Gisborne. It employed 28 staff and had 11 pilots, Mrs Power said.

Bookings can be made direct through Sunair and through various travel agents in New Plymouth.