KIWI TRAVEL International Airlines has emerged successfully from its dispute with the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (NZCAA), finally gaining approval for starting scheduled services across the Tasman Sea to Australia.

NZCAA chief Kevin Ward had opposed the granting of a licence, principally until the US Federal Aviation Administration, which is responsible for the US-registered aircraft to be wet-leased from AvAtlantic of Savannah, Georgia, provided assurances on the airline's safe operation.

As a result, the international air-service licence has been granted to AvAtlantic, rather than Hamilton, New Zealand-based Kiwi Travel International, and is valid for six months. According to chief executive Ewan Wilson, the company has been officially designated by the New Zealand Government as the country's second international airline.

Kiwi Travel had previously operated irregular trans-Tasman charters using an Air Nauru Boeing 737-400, but will fly its new Hamilton-Brisbane, Hamilton-Sydney and Dunedin-Brisbane routes with a hushkitted Boeing 727-200. The licence gives Kiwi the chance to apply for other unused international traffic rights.

Source: Flight International