Download an install the latest version of iTunes on your MBA. Connect the iPad to your MBA with the cable and iTunes should launch and take you through the activation process.
You do need Internet access or you cannot activate the iPad. If the MBA is connected to the Internet via WiFi or via Ethernet cable to your cable modem or router, you can still activate the iPad.
Now why don't you post back and explain what you did in a little greater detail. We don't need a narrative, just state very cleary what you did and what did not work.
That is what I did, and I was able to successfully activate. Thank you.
I had another problem, and that was with accessing the "Guest Account". Cisco required a password, even though there was no lock symbol on the Guest Account. I had set up the router using a relative's laptop (needed to use his CD drive), not realizing that Cisco Connect was actually installed on his laptop. I had to ask to use that laptop again later to look up the password (could not get it any other way, even with resetting the router and trying to use Admin). Because there was no lock symbol, I had not realized that I needed to write down or remember the Guest Account password, which I had not set up (not admin, either). As soon as I used the correct Guest Account password, I was able to access the Internet with the IPad. This was not an IPad issue, but describing what I did might benefit someone else. Guest Accounts may have different passwords than the main account.