Air Chathams has seen an immediate increase in demand with the opening of quarantine free borders with Australia and the Cook Islands, says Duane Emeny, the airline’s chief operating officer.
‘Kiwis connecting domestically onto international flights was always a huge market for us. We lost half our market when borders closed.’
Emeny says this traffic is definitely returning, with the biggest pick-up from Whakatane to Auckland, followed closely by travellers from Wanganui.
‘Kapiti is mainly business travel but we have also seen a bump there too on Fridays, Sundays and Mondays when people are going on (an international) holiday or coming back.’
He says the domestic business market remains extremely important to Air Chathams.
‘The early morning departures into Auckland and the evening returns back are a key for us. You’ve got to have that mix – business travel is the last minute, high yield passenger.’