In a first for New Zealand, an airline says it's likely to use crowdfunding to buy an aircraft.
Kiwi Regional Airlines says it plans to raise up to $2 million to enable it to add a second aircraft to its fleet and is likely to use a crowdfunding platform to do so.
The additional plane would be a Saab 340 QC, to be used to develop the lucrative passenger and freight charter markets and as a backup for maintenance of its primary aircraft, the airline said today.
"New legislation enables small amounts of equity to be raised via crowdfunding platforms, and although a lot of the detail is yet to be formalised, I find the idea of a community of New Zealand shareholders being a part of Kiwi Regional Airlines quite exciting," the airline's CEO Ewan Wilson said.
Mr Wilson told ONE News Now $2 million is a very small amount in the aviation context and crowdfunding is about "the idea of a community of shareholders who become passionate and ambassadors for the airline".
He said he likes the idea of the community having some ownership, even if it's only a couple of hundred dollars or a thousand dollars and becoming "roving ambassadors" for the airline.
Mr Wilson said crowdfunding is just one of the options the company is looking at and it won't make a final decision for another two weeks.
He said New Zealand led the way with legislation that allows up to $2 million to be raised in a calendar year on authorised crowdfunding platforms and if the target is reached, shares would be issued to individuals.
Mr Wilson stressed there are no plans for the second aircraft to be used to add capacity to existing routes or add additional destinations.
Over the last 12 months the airline has worked hard to get its certification and has had a rewarding first four-and-a-half months of operations, he said.
"While airlines are an inherently risky businesses, they can also be highly successful."
Kiwi Regional Airlines has services to Hamilton, Nelson, Dunedin and Tauranga and says it'll also be flying to and from Christchurch from mid-May.