Nelsonians looking to cross the Cook Strait now have a third airline to choose from.
Originair made its inaugural flight from Nelson to Wellington on Friday afternoon in response to passenger demand.
Originair’s CEO Robert Inglis says the decision to reintroduce the route came following Jetstar’s withdrawal from the region.
“When Jetstar started, there wasn’t much point in continuing with their competition but, as they departed, we have had a lot of requests to add some Wellington capacity. It’s not a lot at this stage but at least it gives a bit of choice.”
Originair’s new Wellington service will initially be limited to 10 sectors per week, concentrating on peak demand times.
“It’s an expensive sector to Wellington, any short sector, the on and off ground costs are significant,” Robert says.
“You can never really be a cheap sector but we’re hoping we are offering fair fares and that passengers will enjoy that choice.”
The announcement of the Nelson-Wellington route comes after very consistent and encouraging demand for seats on the airline’s newly-resumed Nelson-Palmerston North service.
“We are very happy with the way that the reintroduction of our Palmerston North service has been going.”
He says demand has been solid and that gives them additional confidence to grow. “It’s another milestone.”
He says the early indications have shown encouraging reservations.
Dan Raggett was aboard the first flight out of Nelson on Friday.
“I knew that it had just started but didn’t know it was the first one. I got a free coffee so that’s pretty cool.”
Dan is delighted to see another airline flying to and from the capital.
“I was pretty bummed out when Jetstar pulled out. Obviously, prices have gone up so it’s really good to get someone else in the mix.”
Dan says price was a major factor in selecting his airline.
“I booked this pretty last minute, shopped around and Air New Zealand was pretty expensive and this was the cheapest option and it’s good to support them.”