Kiwi Regional Airlines may start flights to New Plymouth

KRA planeAn unfamiliar sight greeted airport goers on Saturday as Kiwi Regional Airlines made a surprise appearance. Kiwi Regional Airlines (KRA) distinctive new green-tailed plane was spotted at New Plymouth airport on October 17 sparking questions as to whether the newly formed company would be expanding.

KRA is a Hamilton based company operating a single Saab340A aircraft to Nelson, Dunedin and Queenstown with plans to add another aircraft to their fleet.

Route network and revenue manager for KRA, Dave Macpherson, said the fleeting appearance in New Plymouth was to test the waters for future flights.

"We had a spare day so we wanted to test the timing and logistics of flying to New Plymouth," he said.

"We are looking at interest from other provincial towns including Invercargill, Napier and Tauranga."

"It is unlikely to be this year though."

"This year we just want to nail down where and when we could extend."

Although KRA's first official flight day is scheduled for October 27, Macpherson said they would start calling for expressions of interest from other provincial locations.

KRA's plans to expand come after Jetstar announced on June 18 they would start flying to and from New Plymouth and four other regional destinations  from February 2016.

Airport manager at New Plymouth airport, Kevin Hill, said the airport would be interested if KRA did decide to start flying to New Plymouth, but said nothing had been formally discussed.

"With Jetstar starting to fly here in February 2016 finding gate space and sorting out timing could get a bit blocked up."

Planned extensions to New Plymouth's airport terminal were scheduled for May 2016 but would be moved forward to accommodate Jetstar and are likely to be completed by mid-2017.

"We're looking at re-development of the terminal at the moment so KRA could be factored in."

 - Stuff