Kapiti Coasters will soon see Air Chathams planes back in the sky.
After 7 weeks of uncertainty and 'hibernation' Air Chathams says it is excited to slowly relaunch scheduled flights from its Auckland Airport base to Whakatane, Whanganui and the Kapiti Coast commencing 24th May.
Duane Emeny, Airline General Manager says Airline management have been working with the district councils to agree on a way forward that allows the airline which has suffered a 90% drop off in revenue during COVID-19 a lower risk way to reinstate flights while demand and confidence to travel by air returns to the domestic network.
Flights have not stopped between the Chatham Islands and its mainland New Zealand ports throughout Levels 4 and 3 because the Island airlink was deemed an essential 'lifeline' service and funded through the Aviation Support Package.
Mr Emeny says under Level 2, customers are once again able to book flights to the Chathams using the airline website and call centre.
"Whilst following Ministry of Transport guidelines including Social Distancing on flights; Air Chathams has also implemented a strict Level 2 PPE & Hygiene Policy which includes an increased aircraft cleaning schedule and free of charge hygiene packs for all traveling passengers including a face mask to be worn on flights."
Air Chathams staff and the Emeny family that own the company have been overwhelmed by the messages of support throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
"We are hoping that goodwill will in time result in more normalised travel patterns especially as we work towards a trans-Tasman bubble with Australia."
The services to and from Kapiti will be on a reduced schedule for the first two weeks and will then be reviewed.
Ensuring external information sources for our actions are authentic and valid via NZ Government, Ministry of Health; Trade and Travel advisory services including operating within the Civil Aviation Rules.
Coronavirus Alert Level 2 Information - COVID-19
What can you expect during Level 2?
Reducing the risk of infection for all our Passengers and subsequently to our Employees.
Reducing the risk of infected or suspected infected persons entering our operational site or aircraft.
Robust protocols and procedures to assist in the event of Contact Tracing
Safe Operating Practices and Behaviours that ensure COVID-19 risks of infection remain low.
COVID-19 PPE and Hygiene procedures being implemented for passengers and Air Chathams Employees.
To ensure that we keep YOU and our EMPLOYEES safe we have developed an extensive COVID-19 Operating Safely Plan. Our team have been preparing to welcome our wider Air Chathams family and friends back to our domestic skies to ensure connectivity with the regions we serve.
During Alert Level 3 we have remained busy and reviewed our existing controls to further improve on what we had established prior to lockdown.
One of these enhancements is that we have established further 'On-board Mandatory Controls' to help combat our united fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19.