Thursday, November 10, 2011

Queenstown in sights of charter jet service (New Zealand)

A new jet charter service can whisk travellers from Hawke's Bay to Queenstown for breakfast and a round of golf - and have them back in time for lunch.

The $4 million Cessna Citation can take up to five passengers from the Bridge Pa or Napier aerodromes.

The plane can fly at 630km/h but its range is limited to New Zealand skies only.

To hire, it costs $2200 plus GST an hour. A return trip to Queenstown would cost $7700 or $1540 a person for a party of five.

It is owned by GESL Aviation, a company owned by Graeme Lowe of Lowe Corporation.

Mr Lowe is unable to use the plane himself because of a health condition.

Chief pilot Gerald Grocott said the new service had a lot of advantages.

"The time flexibility of private charter means passengers can fly when it suits them,'' he said.

"If a meeting or other crucial engagement runs over time or is delayed the plane can leave when you are ready.

"The jet can fly from Hawke's Bay directly to Kerikeri, New Plymouth, Wanaka or Invercargill, which in travel time and expense is a dramatic saving when compared with a scheduled airline.

"For example, Hawke's Bay to New Plymouth is about 30 minutes' flight time.''

Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Murray Douglas welcomed the new travel option.

"With the company's new charter rate, fast comfortable travel is extremely economic, and now within the reach of many who would have previously dismissed the idea out of hand.''

The service is operating under the banner of Air Hawke's Bay which is based at Bridge Pa. The Bridge Pa airfield is equipped with runway lighting and for bad weather approaches.

- Patrick O'Sullivan, Hawke's Bay Today 

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