Kiwi Regional Airlines announces alliance with Barrier Air

Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson said the agency alliance with Barrier Air was a win for travellers.

Kiwi Regional Airlines and Auckland-based carrier Barrier Air have announced a new alliance.

From February 8, Barrier Air will offer Auckland-Hamilton flights as Air New Zealand moves to drop the route.

Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson said Air New Zealand's decision to pull out of some regional routes had triggered a series of carriers to start up but they tended to be operating in silos.

"Our agency alliance with Barrier Air is exciting and is one of many relationships I'm keen to develop," Wilson said.

"This is our first attempt at creating more co-ordination and working with another carrier to provide more connectivity."

From February 15, Kiwi Air passengers flying routes between Nelson, Dunedin and Hamilton will be able to connect in Hamilton with Barrier Air flights to Auckland and on to Great Barrier Island, North Shore or Kaitaia around midday on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

"Essentially, we've agreed to sell each other's seats. So you can book a seat on Barrier Air with us at a concessionary rate. It will be two separate tickets but the schedules have been co-ordinated," he said.

"For us, this alliance allows us to sell destinations like North Shore, Great Barrier Island and destinations as far north as Kaitaia."

In November, Northland Regional Council and Far North District Council called for Northland people to support Barrier Air or risk losing the service.

Meanwhile, Kiwi Air will begin flying to and from Tauranga from February 15.

The airline will offer a twice-weekly direct connection for Bay of Plenty residents to Nelson, with the service also connecting on to Dunedin one day a week.

Since its first flight in October, Wilson said the company was "thrilled" with its load factor (passenger numbers), with an  average of 70 per cent of seats sold.

The airline was still working to improve its yield and saw great potential in catering to corporate travellers.

 - Stuff