Kiwi Regional Airlines executives from left Peter Ashford, Ewan Wilson and Bill Wilson with a Saab 340 aircraft. supplied Kiwi Regional Airlines executives from left Peter Ashford, Ewan Wilson and Bill Wilson with a Saab 340 aircraft.
New air service Kiwi Regional Airlines has announced the routes it will fly with its first aircraft and a start date.
It will run its first passenger service on September 27, and each day will start with a return Dunedin-Queenstown flight, says its chief executive, Ewan Wilson.
The aircraft, a SAAB 340A 32-seat twin-engine turboprop model, will then fly mid-morning to Nelson direct from Dunedin, a route that has not been flown previously by a scheduled service, but which it says connects the country's premier fishing industry ports, and the two largest South Island cities outside Christchurch.
Kiwi Regional Airlines has announced the first four routes it will operate daily, from September 27. Supplied Kiwi Regional Airlines has announced the first four routes it will operate daily, from September 27.
From Nelson, Kiwi will fly return to Hamilton in the middle of the day. It says this refreshes a connection flown by thousands of passengers annually on both Origin Pacific and Air New Zealand until 2008. The former, however, used 19-seater planes, Wilson said.
"We believe with us operating it in better-fit aircraft, it's a very economical way of capturing the market."
The flight then returns from Nelson to Dunedin mid-afternoon, before repeating the Dunedin-Queenstown return flight in the early evening.
Wilson said he was "very pleased at the progress Kiwi is making".
"Our Civil Aviation Authority certification is well under way, key personnel have been appointed, airports are being negotiated with, aircraft purchase steps are nearing fruition and now we have finalised our first route.
"Our route is an exciting one, different from all other airlines, and we expect will be well-supported by the communities it serves."
Kiwi intends to add a second aircraft, and additional routes, within the next 12 months, he said.
Kiwi produced a draft flight route proposal in February that suggested an Auckland-Hamilton link was on the cards, but Wilson has said Kiwi won't compete with Jetstar and Air NZ.
"Air NZ continues to service Auckland [from Hamilton] until early next year, our position may change once they have departed the scene, but we're taking a very conservative approach."
Wilson said the great news for Hamilton was the three sets of crew who will initially staff the plane, will be based in Hamilton, bringing nine jobs to the city.
Three "highly experienced" captains, three first officers and three flight attendants will join the team, Wilson said.
Two captain positions had been filled already and the third was yet to be filled, he said.
"Our approach to first officers will be to embrace recent graduates - we have a great relationship with Ardmore [Flying School, in Papakura]."
Wilson said Kiwi hoped to have tickets on sale online from mid-late July, with a link to an online booking system from the Kiwi website.
Last updated 17:59, June 24 2015