Hamilton Airport is bucking gloomy predictions for the aviation industry with the announcement today it will reinstate a route scuppered by COVID-19.
A new partnership with Originair will re-establish the Hamilton-Palmerston North route that ceased earlier in the year when COVID-19 grounded the aviation industry. The route had previously been serviced by Air NZ.
The direct, weekday service will commence on the 19th of October 2020 and will depart Hamilton, bound for Palmerston North at 1pm each day. The service will additionally offer Nelson and Hamilton travellers an option to travel to either city, via a brief stop in Palmerston North.
A direct Hamilton-Nelson route is under consideration by the airline.
Hamilton Airport chief executive Mark Morgan said “both the Hamilton and Palmerston North airport companies are committed to helping drive regional recovery, and the re-establishment of this service can only help”. He remained positive Hamilton Airport would continue to perform well and said the new service was a “welcome vote of confidence during difficult times”.
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson said the new service will help increase visitation into the greater Waikato region.
“Palmerston North has been a key fly market for our region for many years in the corporate and leisure travel spaces. Events are also a key driver and additional flight capacity is welcomed, especially during peak periods of travel like Fieldays,” Dawson said.
The initial schedule represents a cautious start, in line with challenging times, said Originair chief executive Robert Inglis.
“The route will be serviced initially with a 19-seat Jetstream aircraft,” said Inglis, “and the intention is to increase the schedule in late January 2021, dependent on demand from travellers”. Originair hope to provide two return services Monday - Friday to accommodate same day business travel.
To ensure this increased capacity can be met, Originair has expanded its fleet with the purchase of an additional 19-seater British Aerospace Jetstream 32EP. The gauge of aircraft used on the route could also be increased if required.