Kiwi Air touches down in Hamilton to guard of honour Hamilton Airport wheeled out the water canons for the first landing arrival of the new regional airline.

Kiwi Regional Airlines (KRA) took its first commercial flight on Tuesday after it won regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Authority and was welcomed, with full honours, to the Waikato.

Their first scheduled stop at Hamilton Airport from Nelson was delayed by 20 minutes but passengers were pleased with the service.

Water canon honours Kiwi Regional Airlines' first commercial arrival in Hamilton.


Water canon honours Kiwi Regional Airlines' first commercial arrival in Hamilton.

Hamilton mum Elysha Memon and her baby Maaya visited family in Nelson regularly.

There were "teething problems" but a direct flight cut out the hassle.

"What I like best is we can go direct from Nelson to Hamilton without having to go through Wellington or Auckland," said Memon.

Two flights to Nelson were "inconvenient" and KRA's cut price helped.

"I missed out on the specials, unfortunately," she said.

"But it's better than $300 or $400."

Nelson man Kit Brydon arrived on the flight and said it was a "nice plane and a good flight".

"We had cake when we left and then the welcome here into Hamilton with the fire hoses," said Brydon.

He said Nelson families with children in Hamilton would benefit from the connection.

"I hope it continues," he said.

Nelson Airport chief executive Robert Evans also touched down on the first flight between cities.

"It was pleasant with a cup of coffee, some water, a biscuit and a few lollies," said Evans.

"The plane went well, it was comfortable."

KRA joined other newcomer Originair to fly into Nelson and Jetstar will take off in December.

Evans said there was plenty of excitement in the Nelson aviation industry.

"There is a lot of aviation activity so a lot of excitement is building around all of those airlines and today is a great day with Hamilton and Dunedin now on our route network," said Evans.

Hamilton Airport acting chief executive Mark Morgan said a new player in the skies was just what the airport needed.

"As an airport company, you strive to attract airlines to your airport so to have another airline operating from Hamilton is great to have," said Morgan.

"Kiwi has a lot of history in the Waikato so to have Kiwi Regional Air in business now is great to see."

With just one aircraft, KRA was exposed if it met mechanical failure but Morgan said it had already brought numbers to the airport.

"We've had people out here today that have got an interest in aircraft and airlines, taking photos, and they are not even travelling  so I think it creates general interest and that can only be good for aviation and for airports."

 - Stuff