The Kāpiti Coast welcomed over 4,300 visitors to yesterday’s Open Day at Kapiti Coast Airport in Paraparaumu.

Mayor K Gurunathan said welcoming and hosting Air Chathams’ aircraft on the Coast for the first time was a great occasion, following the time Kāpiti has been without a direct flight service to Auckland.

“Seeing our community come out in force, both as visitors and hosts of this event has continued to strengthen the message I am hearing that our airport and its services are hugely important to many people in our region,” he said.

“The huge interest in this event is further evidence of the level of support for air services to and from Kāpiti in addition to what our in-house and commissioned research has already told us.”

The Mayor thanked the Airport, all the display organisers, event volunteers, airport providers and other supporters who came out in force to show off what the district’s airport has to offer.

“The operators and services they provide are at the heart of Kāpiti Coast Airport. This opportunity for so many people to share the on-the-tarmac experience, without checking in, has really shown off those services.”

The airport facilitates approximately 55,000 passenger trips each year.

A recent economic evaluation of the Kāpiti Coast Airport to the District estimates the net economic benefit of the Airport to Kāpiti residents to be around $4.3 million per year, with savings in travel time and costs identified as the biggest contributors to this figure.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to welcome our new service and check out Chatham’s Saab 340 that’ll fly the Kāpiti-Auckland route, alongside the suite of services the Airport continues to offer residents and visitors,” Mayor Gurunathan said.

“People place a lot of value on the calmer, shorter and congestion-free travel experience that flying from Kāpiti offers and this will be a key point of difference for Air Chathams.  

“Thank you Kāpiti for all the support you offered to this event and we hope you’ll be back for more – who knows what the future holds for events like this?”

Air Chathams will be back in town soon with a Chamber of Commerce lunch event at Southward’s Car Museum on 9 August with the company’s founders, the Emenys, speaking on their role in the future of Kāpiti.

The new Kāpiti-Auckland service starts flying on Monday 20 August.