Originair ready to fly again

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Originair’s owner says he is “a day or two” away from announcing a new deal to get the fledging airline carrier back in the skies.

The Nelson-based airline started commercial flights last August with a service from Nelson to Palmerston North, it later expanded to include a Nelson to Wellington service.

But in March, the airline – which is owned by former Origin Pacific and Air Nelson owner Robert Inglis – was grounded when the Civil Aviation Authority placed restrictions on Air Freight Ltd operating Originair planes, over safety concerns.

Robert says he has made “good progress” on getting his two aircraft flying again.

“Yes, we have progressed, but I probably need another day or two before I can make an announcement on that, I just want to get all my ducks in a row. But we have made a lot of progress.”

A Christchurch football team confirmed they had a chartered booking for May 21 cancelled by Originair with pilot unavailability given as the reason.

The company’s social media accounts have also gone quiet. The airline’s Facebook page was updated almost daily until March 10, when all activity stopped.

Several questions from customers have gone unanswered, including several asking “when will you be flying again?”

Robert says it’s likely they will start flying again in June.

He says having planes sitting on the tarmac, instead of flying has been “a real disappointment, but sometimes life is like that”.

“We’ve made good process and after getting over my crop harvest I’ve been focussing on getting a war-chest together to get the past tided up and get on,” says Robert who also has business interests in the horticulture industry.

He didn’t want to comment further until he had things “neat and tidy”.