Sunday, June 19, 2016

Kiwi Can't Fly

So which was it?
Did the public not want to fly those routes?
Did the public not trust Ewan Wilson?
Could Ewan Wilson not run a successful airline?
All or none of the above?
Whatever the reason, the fact is: Ewan Wilson's Kiwi Regional Airlines has bellyflopped. Kiwi's scheduled Hamilton-Nelson, Tauranga-Nelson, and Nelson-Dunedin runs cease on 30 July.
The Waikato-based airline was launched in October 2015 by CEO Ewan Wilson, who also founded the failed no-frills trans-Tasman Kiwi International Airlines in 1994.
Aviation commentator Irene King thinks it likely Kiwi Regional was under-capitalised and struggled to build a loyal customer base: "Running a regional operation is really tough. I'm surprised it lasted so long."
Kiwi is selling its only plane, a 34-seat Saab 340, to Air Chathams (which has been operating more than 30 years). It'll run Air Chathams' Whanganui-Auckland service on its air operating certificate until Air Chathams can move the Saab to its own certificate, and Kiwi crew will be employed by Air Chathams from early August.
Wilson says Kiwi had a choice to either expand with a second aircraft, or be absorbed into a larger operator: "From my point of view I'm pleased our aircraft and flight staff will become part of Air Chathams." He says the sale of the Saab was the shareholder's decision. As a minor shareholder he's pleased with the outcome, but as chief executive he's disappointed.
Air Chathams operates five aircraft with scheduled services between the Chatham Islands-Akld, Wgtn-Chch and Whakatane-Akld.
Wilson says he'd like to continue in the aviation sector - "I've built an airline over the last 14 months that's met probably one of the worlds' toughest regulatory requirements." - but it's too early to say whether he'd consider running another airline.
Third time lucky, Ewan?
Or coals to Newcastle?

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