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New Paraparaumu air service seen as development catalyst

Wednesday 26th January 2011

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Air New Zealand's decision to fly between Paraparaumu and Auckland is seen as a catalyst to attract development to the Kapiti Coast airport.

The airline announced today that subsidiary Air Nelson was to start scheduled commercial services between Auckland and the Kapiti Coast from October.

Air Nelson will operate three return services a day from Monday to Friday using its 50-seater Bombardier Q300 aircraft, with a further three return weekend services.

A total of 1800 seats would be available each week on the 70-minute route, Air New Zealand said.

Paraparaumu Airport Holdings, which bought the site in 2006, has talked of redevelopment worth hundreds of millions of dollars over several decades.

A Mitre 10 Mega store is due to open in March as part of the first stage of the development of the Kapiti Landing Business Park.

Airport owner Noel Robinson said the announcement of the Air New Zealand services would without question be a catalyst for further development at the airport.

Many businesses were keen to be part of the development but they had wanted to know when the airline would start operating, and before today the airport company had not been able to tell them.

It had taken 16 months to get approvals for the Air New Zealand services, and while that was longer than expected, the airport company was where it wanted to be with development plans.

It was estimated that about 120,000 people were in the catchment area for the airport.

Paraparaumu would be an option for anybody north of the Wellington central business district, particularly if the alternative involved driving through the Wellington CBD at peak times to get to Wellington Airport, Sir Noel said.

He saw Paraparaumu Airport as being complementary to Wellington Airport, saying the two had worked closely together and would benefit from joint promotions.

About $1.5 million was being spent on the runway at Paraparaumu to prepare for the new service, with work starting next month, more than $1 million was going on a new terminal and carpark and nearly $500,000 on other infrastructure to prepare for the flights.

Sir Noel was delighted that after five years of Resource Management Act negotiations and other regulatory processes the airport redevelopment plans were now well under way.

"Most importantly the resumption of scheduled commercial services, which has always been the underlying objective of the airport redevelopment, is also now under way. I am absolutely thrilled that this vision for Kapiti will now become a reality."

Air Nelson general manager Grant Kerr said Paraparaumu Airport gave passengers from the Kapiti Coast a much more convenient alternative to the 45 minute drive to Wellington Airport.

"While we'll start out with 18 return Paraparaumu to Auckland services per week, we're open to expanding the schedule over time if there's demand."

The inaugural flight from Auckland to Paraparaumu would take place on Labour Day, October 24. Pricing would be announced towards the middle of the year.



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