All passengers booked to sail over Easter will be able to cross the Cook Strait during the holiday weekend, the Interislander can confirm.
Kaitaki has been out of service since 4 March due to a gearbox issue, and will not be operational until at least 10 April.
Interislander Executive General Manager, Walter Rushbrook said that the company has been in touch with approximately 8200 passengers booked to travel on the service in the first ten days of April.
“While all passengers booked over the Easter weekend have been assured of a sailing, we’ve advised a small percentage of passengers travelling earlier in April we have had to cancel their sailing, with a full refund, asking them to contact us to re-book at alternative times if they still want to travel.”
By increasing other ferry sailings and taking a number of other steps, Interislander has been able to advise more than 90 percent of Kaitaki passengers, booked up until the end of Easter, they can cross the Strait as planned, although some have been offered different times to their original booking.
To assist these passengers, Interislander has employed additional call centre staff from the 27th of March, and we’re holding all available capacity on other ferry sailings for those who have been cancelled.
“Restoring Kaitaki has been a complex job. In the near future, we expect to be able to announce a date when Kaitaki will return to service, “ said Rushbrook.
“Easter is an important holiday break for New Zealanders and many rely on our services to cross the Strait. Our people have been working around the clock to manage existing bookings and arranging additional ferry sailings to accommodate customers who have bookings with us.”
The ability for passengers to make further bookings was paused in mid-march, to prioritise space for those who already had booked. Despite best efforts, the issues with Kaitaki disrupted travel for many passengers, for which Interislander apologised.
Interislander said that they would be in contact with all passengers booked on Kaitaki late in April to confirm their travel arrangements, recommending passengers wait to be contacted by them to avoid waiting for help through the call centre.
“Looking ahead, we are working to build a much more resilient service, including purchasing two new, larger ferries that will be built at Hyundai-Mipo Dockyard in South Korea,” Walter Rushbrook said.