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High flying airline funding native trees on the ground

Sounds Air is a Blenheim based airline that has helped to plant native trees in some of the beautiful destinations it flies to through on-board donations. 

Sounds Air started with a vision of providing low-cost inter-island transport to locals and tourists in the Marlborough Sounds. Today, the airline has ten single engine aircraft that have together made over 175,000 crossings of Cook Strait and currently operates over 300 flights a week.  

When face-coverings became mandatory onboard aircraft due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staff wanted to do something to help mitigate some of the environmental effects disposable masks would have. 

They asked passengers who forgot to bring a mask and needed to use a disposable one to make a small donation to Trees That Count – and have been blown away by the support from customers. 

CEO Andrew Crawford says staff were really excited that they were able to do something that made a difference in the areas they service. 

“Our staff really love being able to track how many native trees have been planted directly from their actions, and to see exactly where they have been planted,” he says. 

So far, donations from Sounds Air have contributed 135 native trees to the Greening Taupō community conservation initiative and to Kelly's Conservation Forest in Nelson, an area of special significance with a high density of rare native plants, birds and fish. 

The planting areas are close to several of Sound Air’s busiest destinations in Taupō, Nelson, Blenheim, and its own airport in Picton. With the airline expanding most recently with a regular route to Wanaka, Sounds Air hopes to fund even more trees in 2021. 

It’s really satisfying to see the native tree plantings happen through donations made on board our aircraft, and a really great way for us and customers to something positive in our own part of New Zealand,” says Andrew. 

“It’s really simple to participate, and it’s easy to keep in touch with customers about where our contributions go and the difference it makes.”