Kapiti Airport (formerly Paraparaumu Airport) has again become a destination on Air New Zealand’s domestic network with the launch of direct services between Paraparaumu and Auckland.
The new service is being operated by Air New Zealand regional subsidiary Air Nelson, with 18 return flights a week between the Kapiti Coast and Auckland.
The first commercial flight left Paraparaumu at 6.55am , arriving into Auckland at 8.05am.
The newly re-named Kapiti Coast Airport was privatised and sold off to a property developer for a knock-down price of just $1.6 million in 1995.
In 2007, it was onsold to another property developer, Aucklander Noel Robinson,for $40million.
Major commercial developments
Major commercial development is now taking place along the site of the old east-west runway, which was closed by Mr Robinson despite many local protests – and an appeal to the Environment Court.
Following renovation of the main north-south runway and refurbishment of an old airport building as a terminal, the ‘new’ airport officially opened at the weekend with 200 or so guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
After speeches, they inspected the Bombardier Q300 aircraft being used to carry up to 50 passengers on the services to Auckland each week.
Air Nelson’s general manager, Grant Kerr, says it’s an exciting time for those living on the Kapiti Coast, with the new direct service saving customers time and money.
Advantages of new service
“Those living on the Kapiti Coast will no longer have to make the one-hour drive into Wellington Airport – instead they’ll be able to fly direct to Auckland in one hour ten minutes,” he says.
Mr Kerr says there is a large catchment area for the new service, with around 110,000 people living in the area that stretches from Levin in the North to Tawa, near Wellington.
He says there has been much work on technical enhancements to Kapiti Coast Airport to allow the introduction of commercial services, including the runway improvements and the re-designed terminal, which has a bach theme to emphasis the region’s many beaches and relaxed atmosphere.
“I genuinely believe this airport will have a huge impact on the Kapiti Coast for many generations to come,” he says.