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Regional air connections vital to the Kapiti Coast District’s COVID-19 recovery

Kapiti Coast District Mayor K Gurunathan is asking the Kapiti Coast community to back Air Chathams as the airline gets ready to resume services between Paraparaumu and Auckland.

"Air Chathams plays an important role in our community and in supporting our district to recover from the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19," says the Mayor.

"Reconnecting family, business and visitor connections is of critical importance to our district’s social and economic recovery and we need to do what we can to help the airline get back up and running as quickly and sustainably as possible."

The Mayor says the airline was dealt a substantial blow with the rapid onset of COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4 forcing them to halt all passenger services on March 25.

"While the airline has been able to access Ministry of Transport funding for essential freight services, they are going to need more support to get their regional passenger services back up and running to maximum capacity now that regional travel restrictions have lifted.

"We fought hard to get Air Chathams to fly Kapiti skies back in 2018 and we are equally committed to supporting them to get back up on their feet again.

"Air Chathams has built a strong and loyal customer base that, prior to COVID-19, was benefiting from the comfort and convenience of having a hassle-free regional connection right on their back doorstep.

"Prior to COVID-19 our District’s share of regional and national tourism had been steadily increasing by around 10-15 per cent year-on-year over the past three years and we expect that to continue given the border restrictions.

"As a Council we are committed to engaging with both the Whanganui and Whakatane district councils to see what we can do help secure Air Chathams future in the regions. This includes lobbying central government for support," the Mayor says.

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