One of New Zealand's most established airlines has announced that it has purchased Kiwi Regional Airlines' Saab 340A aircraft and will absorb the aircraft and offer employment to the majority of Kiwi Regional Airlines full time staff and absorb them into its operations from the start of August this year. Air Chathams has been in existence for over 30 years, and runs a 5-aircraft operation with scheduled services between the Chathams Islands and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as well as a regular scheduled service between Whakatane and Auckland.
It has previously announced it would fill the gap left by Air New Zealand's withdrawal of services between Whanganui and Auckland, starting on 1st August 2016. It had planned to use an 18-seat Metroliner, but will now use Kiwi Regional's 34-seat Saab 340 on this route.
Kiwi Regional Airlines will continue to run its scheduled services until 30th July, and will then run the Whanganui to Auckland service for Air Chathams using Kiwi Regional's Air Operating Certificate until Air Chathams can move the aircraft onto its own AOC.
Kiwi Regional Airlines passengers booked on flights after midday on the 30th of July will receive full refunds, or be offered alternative travel on flights before that date. All of Kiwi Regional Airlines' charters flights with school groups in August and September will still operate.
Air Chathams CEO Craig Emeny said, "We are delighted to have bought Kiwi Regional Airlines' Saab 340."
"The aircraft is a respected aircraft type in New Zealand and has been very well maintained. Kiwi's pilots and engineers will make a welcome addition to the Air Chathams family."
Kiwi Regional Airlines CEO Ewan Wilson said Kiwi had "a choice to either expand by adding a second aircraft to our own fleet, guaranteeing reliability of service, and splitting the very high compliance costs; or be absorbed into a larger player."
"From my point of view I am pleased our aircraft and flight staff will become part of the Air Chathams operation. We have had a formal maintenance agreement with Air Chathams since the start, and this will be an extension of that relationship.
Kiwi Regional Airlines