Air Chathams advises that it will be utilising its SAAB 340A airliner to provide an introductory Auckland-Whakatāne scheduled flight service this weekend.

The airline is waiting on the extension of Whakatāne Airport’s runway end safety areas from the current 90 metres to 240 metres before it can use the larger, faster and more comfortable SAAB on a regular basis for peak demand daily services. That work has now been given funding approval to proceed and the joint airport owners, the Whakatāne District Council and Ministry of Transport, have indicated that the work will be progressed as quickly as possible.

The SAAB will fly the Auckland-Whakatāne scheduled service, arriving at 2.30 pm on Saturday, and will return to Auckland flying the Sunday morning service leaving at 9.30 am.

Renowned for its reliability and performance, the SAAB 340 caters for up to 34 passengers (compared to 19 on the airline’s Metroliner lll aircraft), offers a flight attendant service (in addition to the pilot and co-pilot) and cruises at a rapid 470 km/hour (450 km/hr for the Metroliner). It’s roomy cabin and comfortable seats also offer a superior customer experience, while the availability of an on-board toilet ensures passengers won’t get ‘caught short’.

Air Chathams General Manager Duane Emeny says the introductory service will allow passengers to experience the level of comfort the airline hopes to be offering on a regular basis before the end of 2018. “We know our regular fliers will appreciate the extra cabin comforts provided and look forward to the SAAB becoming a permanent feature, boosting capacity on our peak, daily scheduled services.”