Small Kiwi airline comes to Kaitaia's rescue

A small New Zealand airline is coming to the rescue of residents in the Northland town of Kaitaia after Air New Zealand cut its services. 

Great Barrier Airlines says it will operate daily flights between Kaitaia and Auckland after entering into an agreement with Far North Holdings, which operates Kaitaia Airport.

A small fleet of 12-seater Cessna planes will fly to and from the town three times a day on weekdays and twice a day on the weekend.

The airline has been in business for more than 30 years and operates between Auckland, Great Barrier Island, Whitianga, Whangarei and Tauranga.

It currently operates a service between Whangarei and Kaitaia four times a week on behalf of the Northland District Health Board.

Air New Zealand announced in November it would be cutting services to Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport from the end of April, saying there wasn't enough demand.

Local airline SunAir also looked at taking over the service, as did Ewan Wilson, the founder of failed mid-1990s airline Kiwi Travel International Airlines.

Far North Mayor John Carter has welcomed the decision, saying flights between Kaitaia and Auckland are vital for economic growth and regional development.

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