27 November 2015

Jetstar getting ready for regional launch

It will be chocks away for Jetstar services through Hawke's Bay from next Tuesday when the inaugural flight JQ350 takes off for Auckland. Among those aboard the 50-seater Q300 will be Associate Minister of Transport and Minister for Small Business, Craig Foss. After Jetstar announced on August 31 it would be including Napier on its new regional schedule with flights to Auckland Mr Foss described it as "a real vote of confidence in our region". He said both businesses and families would benefit as the airline, which is engaged in competition with Air New Zealand, had brought in lower airfares. Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the decision was "huge news" for the region. "It's a complete game-changer for tourism growth opportunities - competitive airfares are good for domestic tourism but this will also open up international connections to Australia too." Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said the regional teams who pushed for the service had clearly shown that the Bay was a region on the up, and with plenty of potential. Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule described it as a long-awaited prize. "It is very exciting that we have landed a huge player." Since Jetstar announced the new Napier-Auckland service bookings had been strong for the three daily flights. The service is planned to expand to four return services a day from February 1. The Jetstar colours however have already been spotted at Hawke's Bay Airport. "Yes, sharp-eyed people will have seen it there on Tuesday," the airline's communications manager Phil Boeyen said. "We have been doing trial flights this week which is a standard part of our preparations and it has all gone very well." The introduction of Jetstar now mean three airlines are serving the region, with Sounds Air kicking off is services to Blenheim earlier this month. Next Tuesday, to celebrate the start of the new Auckland link, there will be an official function in the main terminal from 7.30am, with flight JQ350 scheduled to take off at 9am. An official welcome featuring a spectacular water arch will be staged upon arrival at Auckland Airport at 10am.

26 November 2015

Napier and Tauranga on Kiwi's Radar

After canning its Queenstown service Kiwi Regional Airlines is now tossing up flights to Napier or Tauranga. Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson said it would announce a new destination in its network in early December with flights due to begin in late February. The most logical destinations were Nelson to Napier or Nelson to Tauranga, he said. "We're looking seriously at both of them," Wilson said. On Wednesday the airline announced it was cancelling its twice weekly return service from Dunedin to Queenstown less than one month after launching. The Hamilton-based airline also flies between Hamilton, Nelson and Dunedin. The new destination would be serviced by no fewer than two flights per week, he said. Nelson to Dunedin return flights would increase from four flights per week to five, he said. Kiwi Regional Airlines flies a 34-seat SAAB 340A aircraft and aimed to take delivery of a second aircraft by October next year, Wilson said. Napier mayor Bill Dalton said Sounds Air already flew Napier to Blenheim, an hour and a half drive from Nelson, and was "struggling for numbers." But he welcomed the prospect of another airline servicing the region. "We would welcome any competition in the Hawke's Bay skies," Dalton said. People travelled between Nelson and Napier for both business and to visit friends and families but it was expensive because they had to fly via Wellington on Air New Zealand, he said. "There's no competition on that route so it's always been a very expensive operation." Sounds Air director Andrew Crawford said its Napier to Blenheim flights were launched on November 5 to connect Marlborough and Hawke's Bay wine regions. Crawford said numbers on the route were fine. "New routes take time but I'm very happy with it," Crawford said. The route was serviced by six return flights per week using a nine seater Pilatus PC12. Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby said Tauranga to Nelson flights could provide an opportunity to use Nelson as a hub for other destinations in the South Island. Tourists and people visiting friends and family would be the main traffic between the two centres, he said. Air New Zealand flies to Tauranga from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

25 November 2015

A Deviation from the Norm

A while ago Mark sent me this review of "A Deviation from the Norm"... I've got the book but haven't had a chance to read it yet but it looks good. This might be a good Christmas present someone might like to buy you. Anyway here is Mark's review

Have any of you yet acquired, and read, a copy of Norm SANSON´s recently published book .... "A DEVIATION FROM THE NORM - A PILOTS STORY" ?

Norm SANSON was Chief Pilot at SEA BEA AIR throughout the 1980´s.

He joined MOUNT COOK AIRLINES during ther early 1970´s .... and flew both the WIDGEON and GOOSE fort 17 years (he an I actually flew a lot together during the  mid to late 1980´s when SEA BEE AIR was at its peak and I became a member of the "Mechanics Bay Social Club") .... and including their operations within the Pacific based from Tuvalu.

This autobiography covers his entire aviation career .... from his being being influenced towards, and entry to professional aviation ... in NZ .... and in Australia .... flying predominantly marine aircraft types all his career .... and prior to moving on to Vanuatu, India, and New Guinea and a contract pilot .... flying DHC6, DHC8, and ATR 72 aircraft after a brief stint of ferry-flying from NZ also .... as related within pages of endlessly hilarious anecdotes as only Norm (in the minds of those whom know him personally) could ever relate.

Here´s Norms website and book ordering information if any of yoiu are interested ....


A strongly recommended and enjoyable read .... IMHO .... in fact I couldn't put this book down with the first 60-70 pages of my reading it.

Kiwi cans Queenstown

One month after commencing flights between Dunedin and Queenstown, Kiwi Regional Airlines has announced it will be ceasing these services, with the last flight on 30th November 2015. Kiwi's CEO, Ewan Wilson, said "the services to Queenstown have been extremely challenging for our company, with a combination of several weather-related cancellations and low passenger bookings making it unsustainable for this service to continue. This is in marked contrast to our services between Dunedin, Nelson and Hamilton, which have all exceeded expectations for the first month of operation, leading us to look at new regions for expansion into in the future, such as Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki. Like most private companies in New Zealand, Kiwi operates without any Government or overseas backing, and cannot afford to subsidise operations that are not financially viable. We made a commercial decision to end the scheduled Queenstown flights before they affected the performance of our whole company, but we have left it open to return to the city at a future date, for charters or potential alternative scheduled services. All passengers who have booked on Queenstown flights after 30th November will be offered full refunds or other alternative arrangements by Kiwi, and are being contacted this week. Staff and contractors affected by this decision have already been contacted by company management."

24 November 2015

Good afternoon Nelson

Thanks to Warwick and Peter for sending through these pics of Jetstar's Bombardier Q300 VH-SBI which was at Nelson today, 24 November 2015, on a familiarisation flight.

3rd Level Nelson

While in Nelson on 18 November I caught the 5 airlines flying into the city...

Air New Zealand, flying to Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington
Air2there flying to Paraparaumu
Kiwi Regional Airlines flying to Dunedin and Hamilton
Originair flying to Palmerston North and Wellington
Sounds Air flying to Paraparaumu and Wellington
Jetstar... soon to be Nelson's sixth airline flying to Auckland and Wellington. The counters are ready and are just waiting for the aeroplanes... the first of which will fly to Nelson on a familiarisation flight today. Thanks for the photo Warwick!

23 November 2015

New Titles on DC-3

I had heard a whisper that Air Chathams had changed the titling on their Douglas DC-3, ZK-AWP...

...and here it is looking very smart. Photo taken at Auckland on 23 November 2015

A gloomy day in Tauranga

It was a gloomy day at Tauranga on 16 November but my drive around the airport was well worth it... two new photos 

Pipistrel Alpha Trainer ZK-JAT taken at Tauranga on 16 November 2015
Tecnam P2002 Sierra RG ZK-SGO taken at Tauranga on 16 November 2015
Tecnam P96 Golf ZK-TEB taken at Tauranga on 16 November 2015

22 November 2015

OG 2202 - Wellington to Nelson

It was a gloomy day in Wellington on 18 November 2015 for my Originair flight to Nelson
Originair BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH arriving into gate 20 at Wellington Airport

The beautifully presented cabin of ZK-JSH... it even smells new
The inflight snack to the left - a bottle of water and jet planes - beautifully presented
Departing over Lyall Bay and passing Island Bay. The brightest thing to see was the engine cowls

All we got to see until well into the let down
A number nicer day in Nelson, looking over Tasman Bay...
...the Waimea Plains...
...and Richmond

Safely in Nelson
All in all I thought Originair was pretty good... The one observation I think they need to look to was their seat allocation. A mother with a 4 or 5 year old sitting across the aisle from each other... So Mum and a larger man sitting in the double seat while the little one sat in the single seat. Thankfully they saw sense and the man and child swapped! I thought the water and jet planes were a very good touch! As for me I got an aisle seat with only 5 other passengers on the plane... So I slid into the window seat as well!

21 November 2015

Taupo Visitors

The most exotic visitor was Learjet 60 VH-XPN on its first visit to New Zealand at Taupo on 13 November 2015... http://www.mrcaviation.blogspot.co.nz/2015/11/learjet-60-vh-xpn.html
Cessna 152 ZK-EJV at Taupo on 12 November 2015
The Wairoa Aero Club's SG Aviation Storm 300 ZK-ULT at Taupo on  14 November 2015