Air Chathams at PramThe airline flew its first commercial service from Paraparaumu to Auckland on 20 August 2018 and reports that it has since had more than 40,000 passengers on some 1472 flights over the route.

Mayor Gurunathan says that Air Chathams is “building a strong and loyal customer base that is benefiting from the comfort and convenience of this regional connection.”

“Keeping Kapiti connected and accessible through this service strengthens business and family networks and bolsters our visitor economy. Our District’s share of regional and national tourism has been increasing by 10-15% year-on-year over the past three years and this service enables us to continue that momentum.”

Duane Emeny, the airline’s General Manager, says it has received a warm Kapiti welcome and has enjoyed meeting its new customers over the last year. “We’d like to extend a great big thank-you to all our passengers as they’ve journeyed along with us as we’ve found our place on the Kāpiti Coast,” he says.

In 2018, the KCDC offered to support Air Chathams through the ‘Fly Kāpiti’ campaign to aid in promoting the service. The Council’s $50,000 donation a year for three years (plus $66,000 spent on consultants about whether to make that donation — see this post) was supplemented by initial support from Air New Zealand and Kapiti Coast Airport, which offered Air Chathams a free terminal lease for the first year, along with other ongoing discounts on operating charges.