Flights may not go ahead

Plans to resume passenger flights out of Oamaru Airport may not go ahead, due to fears for the longevity of the proposal.

Dunedin-based Mainland Air had originally hoped to start regular passenger services between Oamaru and Christchurch in mid-January, but Mainland Air general manager Shirley Kean said the company had not been able to garner enough support from the Waitaki District Council to make the proposal viable.

''At this stage it is on hold. We really needed council support to ensure that it was going to be a long-term service, but the council is not in a position to come up with what we were asking for.''

Mrs Kean said details of what kind of support was asked for would remain confidential.

Mainland Air has already scrapped plans to fly from Dunedin to Queenstown and Christchurch in October, due to lack of demand.

However, Mrs Kean said other options for the Oamaru plan would be explored.

The company was ''really trying'' to make the Oamaru-Christchurch route a reality, she said.

''We haven't given up. We just need to contact a few more people to see what they can do.

''We just need a wee bit of support to make sure that it is going to stay up and running.

''We can come in tomorrow and get it up and running. But if we do that and we don't have bums on seats, it won't last, and we are not in a position to do that for Oamaru at this stage.

''If no-one can give us that level of support it won't be going ahead.''

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz