Nelson's Originair cleared for take-off to capital

Originair PlaneNelson airline Originair is gearing up to make its first flight to Wellington this weekend with seats selling steadily, says owner Robert Inglis. The airline will fly between Nelson and Wellington every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, commencing on Sunday this week. The standard price for the airfare is $99.

Inglis said sales were as expected.

"We have performed to budget expectations," said Inglis.

Inglis said the airline was giving the Wellington route a "soft" introduction by flying four days per week.

"We'll consider whether we do more after the first month of operations, we haven't been in a position to do a daily service yet," he said.

The new route begins as Jetstar made the announcement it would also join Originair, Air New Zealand and Sounds Air to fly the Wellington route from Nelson Airport. Inglis said he was not concerned by the competition.

"I've noted the [Jetstar] service times are in the middle of the day which I imagine are planned to connect with their Wellington to Sydney services. Our service has only ever been planned for the morning and evening peaks," he said.

The airline commenced a new route between Nelson and Palmerston North last month, which has continued to perform well, he said.

Additional routes for the airline were not on the cards as yet but were not completely out of the question, said Inglis.

"Obviously we would never say never, but it's not on our agenda at the moment."

Jetstar said this month it would begin flying the Nelson-Auckland route on December 1, and Nelson-Wellington on February 1.

Kiwi Regional Airlines plans to begin its services between Dunedin and Nelson and Nelson and Hamilton on October 27.

The increased airline competition sparked a price war at the beginning of the month with Jetstar and Air New Zealand offering a $9 fare sale. Industry and tourism leaders have welcomed the competition, both to keep airfares competitive and to bring more visitors to the region.