17 January 2020

3C 401 to Norfolk Island - Air Chathams' International Service

This morning I got to fly on Air Chathams' international service from Auckland to Norfolk Island...

...but I did get 8D!

Our ride to Norfolk - Convair 580 ZK-CIE having being towed to the gate...

After being bussed to the gate

Safety briefing

Air Chathams mixing it with the other international airlines

All set to line up 05

Departure over south Auckland

That's Waiheke Island with the Coromandel Peninsula in the background

The burial ground of the Bolt brothers' Boeing floatplane???


Whangaparoa Peninsula

Headwaters of the Kaipara Harbour

Whangarei Harbout and the Heads

Focussed on the the safety card... but the Air Chathams fare in green cups

Doubtless Bay

Karikari Peninsula

First glimpse of Norfolk Island

Passing Kingston

The airport

Ship and barge

On the ground at Norfolk

The smiling face of Air Chathams' - Captain Duane Emeny, Air Chathams' General Manager

The Last 10 Years - The domestic airlines that arose

At the time of the blog's 10th anniversary Fraser Weir sent me an email reflecting on what has happened over the last 10 years. It's amazing how much how the domestic scene in New Zealand has changed.

These are the airlines that have appeared.

March 2012

In early 2010 Flight Hauraki established a charter and scenic flight service from North Shore Airport. In March 2012 Flight Hauraki took over management of Waiheke Island based Air Discovery's scenic flight business, including their transfer flights between Waiheke Island and Auckland International Airport and Great Barrier Island. On the 1st of November 2012 the company took over Salt Air’s Kerikeri-Whangarei-North Shore air service. This service was short-lived and the company gradually retrenched to Ardmore. On the 25th of May 2017 Flight Hauraki Ltd was sold and rebranded in May 2018 as Air Auckland.

12 March 2014

FlyStark was formed as Stark Airlines Ltd on the 12th of March 2014 by Waikato businessman Ray Stark and started scenic and charter flights from Whitianga. The compnay expanded to operate scheduled services from Whitianga to Ardmore and Great Barrier Island using two Gippsland Airvans. FlyStark was still offering scheduled services early in 2018 but on 10 August 2018 their last aircraft was sold.

27 October 2015 

Kiwi Regional Airlines started operations on the 27th of October 2015 with flights from Dunedin to Queenstown and with a northern service from Dunedin to Nelson and on to Hamilton using a Saab 340. The Queenstown service was soon dropped and a Nelson to Tauranga service added. The airline ceased flying on the 30th of July 2016. 

21 May 2014

Peter Newman, a Kerikeri and North Shore businessman, established Newmans Air Ltd on the 21st of May 2014. Trading as North Shore Air with Piper Navajo charter services started from North Shore in mid 2015. Sceheduled services began from North Shore Airport to both Tauranga and Kerikeri on the 28th of September 2015 but ceased 32 days later.

15 July 2015

On the 22nd of September 2014 Graham Reynolds formed Great Barrier Airlines Ltd to take over Great Barrier Airlines Flight Operations Ltd which had operated on the Great Barrier Island route since 1983. The company continued to operate as Great Barrier Airlines and until the 15th of July 2015 when the company was rebranded as Barrier Air. The company continues to operate from Auckland and North Shore to Great Barrier Island and from Auckland to Kaitaia with a fleet of 3 Cessna Grand Caravans

22 August 2016 

Parcelair is a joint venture company owned by Fieldair Holdings, a subisdary of Freightways, and Airwork Holdings. It replaced Air Freight (NZ)/Freightways' Convair operations and Airwork/NZ Post's Friendship operations. The company operates a fleet of Boeing 737-400 freighter aircraft between Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch. 

May 2018

In May 2018 Flight Hauraki Ltd was rebranded as Air Auckland. It offers air taxi services from Ardmore to Whitianga and Great barrier Island using a Cessna 206 and two Cessna 172s.

14 December 2018 

On the 14th of December 2018 Waiheke Wings was officially launched as the only commercial flight operator on Waiheke Island. Two Cessna 172s provide scenic flights around the island and the Hauraki Gulf as well as transfer flights to many locations in the North Island including Auckland Airport. 

16 January 2020

Originair Reintroduces Wellington Flights

Nelson Tasman-based airline Originair has added a Nelson-Wellington route to its offering in response to passenger demand. Flights on the Nelson-Wellington route will begin on 14 February 2020, with bookings now available via Originair’s website (www.originair.co.nz) and by calling the airline on 0800 380380. “Our customers have been asking us to consider a Nelson-Wellington route and we’re really pleased to be able to respond to that interest,” says Originair’s CEO Robert Inglis. Originair’s new Wellington service will initially be limited to 10 sectors per week, concentrating on peak demand times, says. “We’re not offering an extensive schedule at the outset but we hope that it will provide extra capacity at times that are most useful to travellers on that route,” says Inglis. The announcement of the Nelson-Wellington route comes after very consistent and encouraging demand for seats on the airline’s newly-resumed Nelson-Palmerston North service. “We are very happy with the way that the reintroduction of our Palmerston North service has been going,” says Inglis. “Demand has been solid and that gives us additional confidence to grow our service offering.”

Source : Originair Press Release

Originair's timetable with the new flights effective 14 February 2020

A couple of interesting additions in the News Hub coverage... 

  • there is talk of using the two aircraft available to us - so J31 (JSH), and presumably J32 ECI which is in their colours 
  • and it sounds like a J41 is being considered again

Originair has announced today it is adding the Nelson-Wellington route to its schedule in response to passenger demand. The airline, established in 2015, once flew the route but pulled out with the arrival of Jetstar, which no longer flies into Nelson. Originair founder and chief executive Robert Inglis said the new service will initially be limited to 10 flights per week, concentrating on peak demand times. Inglis is a veteran of the commuter airline industry and is the co-founder of Air Nelson, which became an Air New Zealand link subsidiary. He said customers had been asking the airline to consider a Nelson-Wellington route and Originair was pleased to be able to respond to that interest. Inglis said it will offer the service using its current two aircraft, but the airline was looking to add a 30-seat aeroplane to its fleet. "We've only had the two Jetstreams available to us and we're looking at options, both in terms of the current type and a larger gauge." He said that at the moment the airline's focus was on the British Aerospace Jetstream type. "We haven't made that decision yet but it's part of an investigation we're doing and we'll come to a view on it shortly." The announcement followed consistent and encouraging demand for seats on the airline's newly-resumed Nelson-Palmerston North service. "We are very happy with the way that the reintroduction of our Palmerston North service has been going. Demand has been solid and that gives us additional confidence to grow our service offering," Inglis said. Originair currently has services from Nelson to Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Napier. Flights on the Nelson-Wellington route will begin on the 14 February.

Source :

PIW retires

Sunair have announced on their Facebook page that Our trusty ZK-PIW has officially been decommissioned! Many a passenger has flown on this plane with us in the past 10 years or so. But no need to worry, we have another plane soon coming to service to take her place! 🛩

Sunair's Piper Aztec ZK-PIW taken at Great Barrier Island on 8 April 2019 

Piper PA23-250 Aztec E ZK-PIW (c/n 27-7305089) was first registered in New Zealand on the 9th of September 1993 to  Tongariro Terrain Investments Ltd, Taumarunui and later, on the 18th of April 2001 to Commercial Helicopters Ltd, Taumarunui.

During these years it operated under for Mountain Air and for a time, Air Kaitaia. 

With Mountain Air, ZK-PIW taken at Hamilton on 7 October 1998

Piper Aztec ZK-PIW with Air Kaitaia's markings at Auckland on 30 November 2000

It was registered to Sunair on the 17th of December 2008