Mainland Air has revisited plans for passenger flights from
the Oamaru Airport, with a new service due to launch on June
Public demand for an Oamaru to Christchurch service would
have to be high to ensure the route's longevity, Mainland Air
chief executive officer Philip Kean said.
Mainland Air will permanently base a Piper Chieftain aircraft
in Oamaru and former North Otago Aero Club instructor Sven
Thelning will pilot the service.
''It'll start as if we're prepared to stay there forever,''
Mr Kean said.
From June 4, there would be morning and afternoon return
flights, between Oamaru and Christchurch, on Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays.
There will also be an afternoon flight on Sundays, leaving
Oamaru at 4.30pm and returning at 5.30pm.
A one-way ticket between Oamaru and Christchurch will cost
The Oamaru Airport has not been used for commercial flights
since Air New Zealand's Eagle Air pulled its service in 2009.
Mr Kean said Air New Zealand figures showed an average of 12
passengers per flight from Oamaru, and Mainland Air would
need nine people on board each flight to make the service
In 2012, Mainland Air put an application before the Waitaki
District Council to have the council subsidise Oamaru to
Christchurch flights, but it was unable to garner support to
make the service viable.
Mr Kean said it never gave up on the idea of making an Oamaru
to Christchurch route a reality, recognising the potential of
the Waitaki district.
''Oamaru is growing - particularly from a dairy and farming
perspective,'' he said.
''It's a new challenge for the company; we're spreading our
wings through the South Island.''
Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill said Mainland
Air's new service was an example of how the development of
the district was presenting new opportunities.
''It's early days and the service will appeal to selected
members of the travelling public, but expansion of access to
the district should prove beneficial,'' he said.
''You expand the opportunities for people and there will be
people who take up those opportunities.''
Mr Gaskill said Tourism Waitaki expected the flights to
appeal to domestic and international travellers.
''It's a fantastic thing - we wish them all the best,'' he
''We'll do everything we can to assist and promote and work