09 December 2016

FlyStark expanding

Whitianga's very own airline, FlyStark, is expanding. Their second Gippsland GA8 Airvan ZK-FSS arrived at Whitianga Airport for the first time on the 6th of December 2016. The aircraft, which was previously owned by Tekapo-based Air Safaris as ZK-SAF, is in full FlyStark colours.

Currently being built at Whitianga airport is a hangar for FlyStark.

FlyStark's Cessna 172 ZK-CWD at Whitianga with the new hangar under construction behind. Photo : FlyStark

For more on FlyStark see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2016/11/flystark-little-boutique-airline.html

Sunair Grounded

Tauranga airline Sunair has been grounded for 10 days after a complaint was made to the Civil Aviation Authority. The nature of the complaint is not known at this stage. Sunair co-owner Bev Power says she is unable to go into details at this time, as the investigation is ongoing. “We are working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority to satisfy their concerns. The CEO has gone to Wellington today to attend meetings this afternoon. “It's our view, and the view of other experienced people in the industry, the suspension of the certificate is an over-reaction to the matters being considered. The proficiency of the company's flight crew and the air worthiness of the aeroplane fleet is not in question. “It's our hope, and belief, that our airline operation will be back flying shortly.” In a statement, the Civil Aviation Authority says the Director of Civil Aviation has suspended Sunair Aviation Ltd's Air Operator Certificate, effective from December 6, due to serious concerns about the safety of Sunair's operation. “The suspension is an initial 10 days suspension, however, it remains in force if the safety issues are not addressed to the satisfaction of the Director of Civil Aviation.” The actions follows the launch of a Section 15 A investigation, which is ongoing. “The Sunair AOC has been suspended under section 17 of the Civil Aviation Act because this operator poses an imminent and unacceptable risk to public safety. “The suspension will result in disruption to public travel but other flight options are available on the main routes flown by Sunair. Travel to places such as Motiti Island may be affected in the short term, but it is possible another operator may fly these routes in future.” The Authority says the suspension of Sunair's AOC is ongoing until the operator addresses the concerns that have been raised as a result of the investigation. 

08 December 2016

Air Milford to offer Queenstown-Te Anau flights

Air Milford has announced it will begin weekly scheduled flights between Te Anau and Queenstown next year to test the appetite for a regular commuter service. Operations Manager Antony Sproull said the trial service would begin on Saturday January 14, and will run every Saturday for 12 weeks through the peak tourist season for a special trial price of $99 per person. We believe the timing is ripe to re-launch this service — the first since Mt Cook Airlines cut the link over 16 years ago," he said. "My father, Hank (Air Milford CEO), worked for Mt Cook Airline for 30 years so knows the pros and cons of this connection intimately.' 'The tourism scene has never been busier in Queenstown or Te Anau. If Mt Cook Airline could justify 44-seat aircraft, then we should have no trouble filling our four-to-12 seat machines.' Air Milford operates a fleet of five aircraft including three Cessna Caravans, the latest of which was flown to New Zealand, brand new from the Cessna Factory in USA, by Air Milford's Chief Pilot in January this year Mr Sproull said a feasibility study into the proposed service highlighted increasing frustrations with the road trip which used to be travelled comfortably in under two hours but with increased traffic and congestion at the Kawarau Bridge often took significantly longer. Flying between the two locations took 25 minutes and those planning onward flights would also save on airport parking fees. To launch the new service, an open day is planned at Te Anau Manapouri Airport between 12.30pm and 2.30pm on Saturday December 17. Fiordland locals can enjoy scenic flights in the new Cessna Caravan in return for a donation to a local charity, while children fly free with accompanying adults. 

Source : Advocate South, 8 December 2016

06 December 2016

Filling the Gap

Sounds Air will offer more flights between Blenheim and Christchurch this Christmas as travellers look skyward to save themselves time on the long inland bypass. The collection of highways connecting Christchurch and Blenheim through the Lewis Pass has become the defacto main route following the closure of parts of State Highway 1. But the added distance, an extra 150 kilometres, combined with the amount of heavy vehicles using the road has made flying an attractive option for Christmas travellers. Marlborough airline Sounds Air is the only company offering direct flights between Blenheim and Christchurch, after the national carrier, Air New Zealand, pulled out of the route earlier this year. Managing director Andrew Crawford said the airline planned to offer about 20 more flights over the Christmas period, in addition to its scheduled morning and afternoon return options. "Usually I would expect the Blenheim-Christchurch route to die down over Christmas because it's predominantly a business sector," Crawford said. "But I think we're seeing more people, holidaymakers, that are going, 'we just don't want to drive'. "We're providing a 45-minute alternative to an eight-hour drive." Crawford said demand for the service was likely to continue as long as SH1 remained out of action, with the company also extending its flights in and out of Kaikoura. Sounds Air had committed to offering the service, between Blenheim, Kaikoura and Christchurch, until January 10 and would review its decision before Christmas. The only road access in and out of Kaikoura was on the Inland Rd, which was still limited, so Crawford said he expected demand to continue for some time, especially on the Blenheim-Kaikoura sector. Landing fees on its Kaikoura flights had been waived for two months by both Christchurch and Marlborough airports, as well as Airways New Zealand fees, which helped keep prices down, Crawford said. An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline was conscious of the impact of the earthquakes and was liaising with the Government around recovery efforts. However, she said they had no plans to re-instate direct Blenheim-Christchurch flights, which were cancelled earlier this year due to a lack of demand. A Jetstar spokesman said the airline had not investigated flying between Nelson, or Blenheim, to Christchurch and had no plans to enter into new routes.

02 December 2016

Air Chathams' Latest Convair...

Spotted at Auckland today, 2 December 2016, was Air Chatham's 'newest' Convair 580 ZK-KFL. The ex-Air Freight (NZ) Convair remains in all freighter configuration

01 December 2016

What I SAW today

On the walk out to my gate I passed Sounds's Air Cessna 208 Grand Caravan ZK-SAW which had just arrived from Picton. Photo taken at Wellington on 1 December 2016 

The Taupo plane, Sounds's Air Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLT. Photo taken at Wellington on 1 December 2016 

The Westport plane, Sounds's Air Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLT. Photo taken at Wellington on 1 December 2016

Grrrrr frustration... I was there early enough to walk down and get a reasonable photo of Air Chatham's Convair 580 ZK-KFL so a desperate shot as I boarded. And to add salt to the wound we pushed back right beside it and I was on the wrong side... Grrrrrrrrr! Photo taken at Wellington on 1 December 2016 

Back in Hamilton Pacific Aerospace 750XL left on what I presume is its delivery flight. Photo taken at Hamilton on 1 December 2016

And yesterday I took Kiwi Air's Pacific Aerospace 750XL ZK-FNZ. Photo taken at Hamilton on 30 November 2016

30 November 2016

More Earthquake Flights

"The response to our Kaikoura flights has been epic!" reports Sounds Air's Facebook page. 

The airline continue to respond to the needs of people effected by the closure of State Highway 1 and has announced they are putting more flights on from Blenheim and Christchurch to Kaikoura from 9 to 22 December AND Boxing Day. The airline has also scheduled more direct flights between Blenheim and Christchurch from 23 December to 3 January (exc 31 Dec, 1 & 2 Jan).

Bookings can be made at http://www.soundsair.com/

29 November 2016

Add one Convair

Flying between Palmerston North and Wellington this afternoon was CHATHAMS 580... nothing unusual in the callsign, but what was unusual was the aircraft was ex-Air Freight Convair ZK-KFL now painted all white. 

It looks like the Convair has now departed for the Chathams as CHATHAMS 521 

27 November 2016

A Sunny Tauranga

Robinson R44 C-FOTY has been hibernating in Tauranga at November in 23 November 2016

Sunair's Cessna 172 ZK-CBZ at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Eagle Flight Training's Diamond DA20 ZK-DAF at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Cessna 172 ZK-DEX at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Cessna 172 ZK-DFH at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Piper PA28 Warrior ZK-ELX at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Cessna 172 ZK-FJB at Tauranga on 23 November 2016 

Bell Jetranger ZK-HKB at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Heli Resources' Eurocopter AS 350 B3 Squirrel ZK-IBW at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Air Nelson's Bombardier Q300 ZK-NFI at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

RAF 2000 GTX ZK-RBK at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Vans RV-6A ZK-RVF at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Diamond DA20 ZK-SFG at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Cessna 152 ZK-TAC at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

AutoGyro Europe MT03 Eagle ZK-TCG t Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Tecnam P2002 ZK-TVB at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Tecnam P2002 ZK-TVB at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Piper PA28 Archer ZK-WEH Tecnam P2002 ZK-TVB at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

Cessna T182 Skyline ZK-ZZR at Tauranga on 23 November 2016

26 November 2016

Two aircraft at Whakatane

Arriving in at Whakatane from Auckland on 22 November 2016, Air Chathams' Fairchild Metroliner III ZK-CID

Cessna 210 Centurion ZK-TRO at Whakatane on 23 November 2016