Three new airlines eye Nelson Airport

Nelson Airport will be busy by the end of the year with three new airlines eyeing flights to and from the region.
Nelson Airport’s expansion plans might need to be accelerated to cope with three new airlines that have announced plans to fly here, in the past fortnight.A year ago, Nelson air travellers were screaming out for some competition as Air New Zealand drove up prices and offered little in return. It appears there were plenty of people listening.

In the past week, Jetstar has visited Nelson, Originair has launched and Kiwi Regional Airlines has announced the routes it will service, with Nelson as its base.

Nelson Airport CEO Rob Evans says it’s an exciting, but hectic, time for the airport.

“It’s been an interesting few weeks for aviation in Nelson. It doesn’t often happen quite like that,” he says. “These decisions aren’t made by them overnight, a lot of planning has gone into it so it is purely coincidental, but it does show and demonstrate the strength of the market here.”

The airport is in the early stages of planning an expansion of the terminal and Rob says, while these announcements won’t alter the plans, it is good timing.

“It’s perfect timing really. We’re not that far advanced that we can’t look at changing anything, but what they do is support the growth and the fact that we do need to provide improved infrastructure because we just don’t have the ability to cater for them at the moment.”

He says if Jetstar do come to Nelson there will need to be a “short-term solution” to squeeze all of the airlines in the terminal, before the terminal upgrade begins.

Originair announced last week that they will fly Nelson to Palmerston North from August and from Nelson to Wellington from September. Headed by former Origin Pacific boss Robert Inglis, they will employ 20 staff and operate two 19-seat Jetstreams.

July 3rd, 2015