Positive response to new flights

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Strong interest has transpired into bookings for Mainland Air Services’ new Oamaru to Christchurch flights which begin on Wednesday, June 4.

Philip Kean, chief executive officer of MAS, said he has a positive feeling about the viability of the flights and feedback from people in Oamaru has been good.

“We’ve already had some bookings and people don’t usually book until two weeks out and so we are just coming into that period now,” Mr Kean said.

The terminal building at the airport, he said, is in ‘good nick’ and will certainly meet the needs of the company.

“Incoming passengers will probably just walk off the plane and go straight to their vehicles so it will really only be outgoing passengers that will use the terminal.”

The company has purchased a nine-seater Piper Chieftain aircraft for the service and flights will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. Morning flights will leave Oamaru at 7.30am returning by 9am and afternoon flights from Oamaru will leave at 4.30pm and return at 6pm. There will also be a flight on Sunday afternoons leaving at 4.30pm and returning at 6pm.

Each flight takes about 40 minutes and will cost around $200 one way.

An Oamaru-based pilot will run a van from Oamaru to the airport to pick up customers. Back-up pilots will be available from Mainland Air Services’ Dunedin base.

Landing fees are being paid to the Waitaki District Council who Mr Kean said are being very helpful and cooperative.

By LINDA MCCARTHY