23 March 2018

Regional Australia

Yesterday, 22 March 2018, I was flying Albury (NSW) to Sydney and managed to photograph a few aircraft

Regional Express' Saab 340 VH-ZRC departing for Sydney
A couple of Mooneys, VH-MBN and VH-MZY arrived

My ride to Sydney, Virgin Australia's ATR 72-600 VH-FVZ
A desperation shot of Qantas Link's Boeing 717 VH-YQT at Sydney

21 March 2018

Air New Zealand - Independent company or social provider of regional air services?

What's your thoughts...

Given the Shane Jones debate...
Independent company or social provider of regional air services?

Should Air New Zealand remain an independent company free from Government interference AND/OR should it have a responsibility as the national carrier to provide social, regional air services?

Latest Kapiti Coverage

Air Chathams 'very interested' in taking over Kāpiti-Auckland route  

Kāpiti residents are upset at the news that Air New Zealand is canning flights from Kāpiti Coast Airport. Air Chathams may step in to fill the void left by Air New Zealand, as it considers its own Kāpiti to Auckland flights. The national carrier abruptly announced on March 9 that it was canning its service between Auckland and Paraparaumu, north of Wellington, from April 3, stating it wanted to prioritise other areas of the country. However, eager residents will have to wait until at least next week for a decision, and up to two months before any service are up and running. Air Chathams chief executive Craig Emeny said the company was "very interested" in picking up the route, but a feasibility study was required, and a report into obstacles in the runway's path was due to be completed on Tuesday. "We have a technician looking into whether our aircraft have the performance they need to be able to avoid those obstacles if you had an emergency on take-off. These are the sort of things you have to be really thorough about and careful. Normally you need three months just to market in an area because, if you just arrive there, of course very few people know you and there's very few people on the airplane. It can be awfully expensive." The runway was also privately owned, so contracts would have to be drawn up between the parties. He said Air New Zealand had offered use of the ground equipment it left behind, as well as commercial information on the route. Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC) mayor K Gurunathan said talks between the council, Air New Zealand, and Air Chathams showed the family-owned airline could potentially take over the route. The council had received a written statement from Air New Zealand's chief executive Christopher Luxon which said the company would support them with ground equipment, information and expertise. "He acknowledged that given the exit timeframe will have an impact on another carrier looking to take over," said Gurunathan. To manage this disadvantage he has agreed to talk to Air Chatham and KCDC about financial support from Air New Zealand for the route to ensure it's viability in the short term and for the service to resume as soon as possible. "He has further committed to my request about exploring the inclusion of Air Chathams on Air New Zealand's booking system." Air New Zealand stated earlier this month it would support any other airline that wanted to operate the Auckland route. Luxon had also reportedly signalled he was open to discussing financial contributions to help the council market the new service. Emeny said he was not aware of any assistance for marketing services. "I have continued to express council's and our community's disappointment in the way we have been treated. I have stressed that I understand that Air New Zealand as this country's flag bearer, is engaged in direct competition with bigger operators like the Australian flag bearer the Qantas Group," Gurunathan said. "We want Air New Zealand to succeed in that competitive world but expect small districts like Kāpiti Coast to be looked [after]. Air New Zealand is a publicly owned entity and therefore has a duty of care." Air New Zealand was approached for comment.

Guy hosts meeting to reinstate Auckland-Kapiti flights

Otaki MP Nathan Guy says there is plenty of hope for the future of flights between Kapiti and Auckland following a meeting with key stakeholders in Parliament this morning. Mr Guy has hosted the meeting in a bid to secure the reinstatement of flights between Auckland and Kapiti after Air New Zealand announced earlier this month it will cancel its service from 3 April. The meeting was attended by representatives from Air Chathams, Todd Property, the Kapiti Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Gurunathan. “Today’s meeting was highly productive between key stakeholders who are all united by the common goal of looking for a solution. “Everyone who attended the meeting has noted the strong public support for retention of the flights, and we’re committed to finding a logical, effective solution. “Air Chathams, a proven regional air operator, has expressed a strong interest in taking over the service. This would be a great resolution and would provide some assurance and stability for the future of this important connection. “The outcome of this meeting signals that everyone is on the same page in regards to ensuring the flights continue following the disappointing decision by Air New Zealand. “By working together I’m confident we can achieve a new service in the next two to three months,” Mr Guy says. Mr Guy will be attending a public rally at the airport this Sunday where he will update the community on progress being made. He also recently launched a petition seeking support to save the Kapiti to Auckland service - it can be signed here.

Source : New Zealand National Party Press Release, 20 March 2018

Chamber Welcomes Interest From Air Chathams

The Kāpiti community can expect an update about the future of air services from Paraparaumu before Air New Zealand departs the region on 3 April 2018. The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce met with Hon Nathan Guy, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Air Chathams and Todd Property today at Parliament to discuss next steps in attracting a new airline to Kāpiti. “It was fantastic to get around the table with all the key stakeholders and discuss how we can retain this critical service. Air Chathams is showing a lot of interest in what Kāpiti has to offer. As a established regional carrier they know what it takes to operate a thriving airline from the regions,” says Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce. It’s estimated it will take between two to three months to work through some of the regulatory requirements for a new airline to operate from Kāpiti. “Our local businesses would warmly welcome a new carrier to Kāpiti, and we are working to do this as soon as possible. Kāpiti is facing unprecedented opportunities for growth. The daily flights to our largest city have been a feather in our cap, making it easier and more attractive to do business here, as well as increase awareness of Kāpiti as a credible and connected part of the business sector, particularly in Auckland. We are hoping to update the community on what happens next by the time Air New Zealand takes its final flight early next month,” says Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Source : Kapiti Coast Chamber Of Commerce Press Release, 20 March 2018

19 March 2018

Air Chathams Interested in Paraparaumu

Kāpiti Coast District Council plans to talk to airlines about expanding services beyond the Auckland to Kāpiti route that needs replacing when Air New Zealand scraps the service. The airline is dropping the daily Auckland service from Paraparaumu with the last flight in early April. Council chief executive Wayne Maxwell said the priority was finding an airline to fill that gap. "What's critical to us is a vitally sustainable and thriving airport, because it's really important both for our economy and resilience reasons. So we're actually looking a little bit bigger as well. "I want to talk to the airlines and go 'so what about some other destinations?'." Transmission Gully, a roading project making it faster to drive to the Kāpiti Coast, would increase demand at the airport, Mr Maxwell said, as people could drive in quickly from Porirua or Ōtaki. Passengers surveyed as they came off flights over the past few weeks had said they loved the service. Air Chathams has shown an interest in taking up the service. General manager Duane Emeny said Air New Zealand had been very proactive in providing interested airlines with data showing how viable it was to fly between Auckland and Kāpiti. "We've also had some discussion with the airport managers and the owners of the airport, because it is private land, and further to that we have been in discussion with the district council and the local mayor, and the (Ōtaki) MP, Nathan Guy." It was certainly the type of route Air Chathams would be interested in, and was similar to the Whanganui to Auckland passage the airline started flying last year, Mr Emery said. The population base and market was similar, and although there were airports an hour to 90 minutes drive away, some people still preferred to fly. Mr Emeny said the plane that would fly between the Kāpiti Coast and Auckland was likely to be a Saab 340, which had up to 36 seats, and had been well-received in Whanganui by those flying to Auckland. Meetings were been (does this mean were being OR had been) held on Tuesday, and Mr Emery hoped a decision would be made by the end of the week.

Some 50 years before...

The Coasters Club Facebook page put up these photos of Air Chathams' Douglas DC-3 
ZK-AWP at Hokitika on 18 March 2018...

Some 50 years earlier ZK-AWP was photographed at Hokitika on a couple of occasions operating the NAC DC-3 service to and from Wellington via Nelson and Westport.  The DC-3s were withdrawn from the service to Westport and Hokitika in early 1970

18 March 2018

Rotorua regains overnight for Wellington flights

Air New Zealand flight scheduling between Rotorua and Wellington is changing next month [April] to enable business travellers a full day’s work in the capital. The changes are also expected to strengthen Rotorua efforts to attract more domestic visitors from Wellington. The changes will take effect from 4 April 2018 and Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, who has led efforts to reinstate early morning flights from Rotorua to Wellington, says it is great news. The mayor, airport management and Rotorua Chamber of Commerce have worked with Air New Zealand to make flight schedule changes to enable locals needing to be in the capital for work and/or meetings to have a full day of business in Wellington. "Current flight schedules don’t allow for that and we’ve lobbied hard on behalf of our business community," the mayor says. "Air New Zealand has listened and it’s now up to the local business community to support the new schedule and ensure it remains viable for the airline. "This is something our business community has told us is important so I’m sure the new schedule will be well utilised." What’s changing?
- Reinstatement of Monday to Friday 7am flight from Rotorua to Wellington with a return flight departing Wellington at 6.20pm;
- Addition of a Rotorua to Wellington flight Friday evenings, increasing the number of Rotorua to Wellington flights on Fridays from three to four;
- Additional Wellington to Rotorua service on Sundays, departing 6.20pm, increasing the number of Wellington to Rotorua flights on Sundays from two to three;
- The two extra weekend evening services (Fridays and Sundays) equate to a 5% increase in capacity on the Rotorua-Wellington route over the winter months, compared with last year.
Peter Stubbs, who chairs both the Rotorua Airport board and the board of Council’s economic development CCO Rotorua Economic Development Ltd, says the new schedule has come at the right time. "Air New Zealand has responded to calls for a more business-friendly schedule, which is great, and the change also coincides with Destination Rotorua looking to attract Wellington visitors. This change is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people over a reasonable period of time and the challenge now is for the community, in particular the business community, to support the new schedule to ensure we keep it. This will also strengthen our efforts to encourage Wellingtonians to consider Rotorua as a fantastic holiday destination so it’s come at a good time," Mr Stubbs says. The announcement is also welcomed by Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chair John McRae who says reinstatement of the flights was a strategic priority for the chamber. "The business community was seriously affected when it was removed and reinstatement has been a high priority," Mr McRae says. "Our philosophy is about collaborating and working together with Council and the Airport has delivered the result we sought." Air New Zealand’s Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier says after consistent feedback from the local community, the airline has worked hard to deliver an early morning weekday service from Rotorua to Wellington to enable a full day of business in the capital, returning to Rotorua in the evenings. "We are pleased we have been able to achieve this for the Rotorua community after working closely with the local chamber, airport, council - and Mayor Steve Chadwick. We are also delighted to add additional weekend capacity on the route which is a reflection of the strong growth we are seeing with Rotorua."

Source : http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/5/306122

Rotorua Airport is welcoming today’s announcement Air New Zealand is reinstating its early morning flight from Rotorua to Wellington, saying it shows what can be achieved when the city works together. Rotorua Airport chief executive Mark Gibb says the announcement comes after strong lobbying from the community, Rotorua Airport, the business sector, Rotorua Lakes Council and Mayor Steve Chadwick. From April 4, the schedule will include a 7am flight from Rotorua to Wellington on weekdays, enabling travellers to reach meetings in Wellington that morning. As a result, Rotorua Airport will have early morning start up flights to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch opening opportunities travellers. “This not only supports the business sector, but visitors and the wider community, providing more options for travel on any given day. “We know this will make a significant difference to those who regularly travel to Wellington, especially for business. “The demand has been clear from our business community and it is important that the service is now utilised, in order to sustain it.” Mr Gibb says the news comes on top of a strong performance from Rotorua Airport over the past year. In the year to December 31, 2017, the airport recorded its highest number of passenger movements since 2008 – with 241,303 people travelling through the airport. In December, the number of aviation movements also peaked at its highest monthly total since records began in 2012, with 537 aircraft using the airport over the month. “These numbers reflect the hard work at the airport, Council and Destination Rotorua, to ensure our city best fits the needs of travellers. “The announcement of the new 7am Wellington flight will be another boost to this effect.”

Whitianga Commuter Service

On the 14th of March this appeared on the FlyStark Facebook page...

Calling all weekly commuters!!! We are looking at putting on a service Whitianga to Ardmore on a Monday morning returning on a Friday afternoon - if this sounds of interest to you please email -info@flystark.com -

“Why drive when you can FLY”

Then on Friday the 16th  the following appeared...

Thank you all so much for your interest in flying from Whitianga to Ardmore on a Monday morning, and then returning on Friday afternoon. For this to be feasible for us we can only fly if we have a minimum of 4 people. So what we are suggesting is the Thursday prior to the Monday flight all bookings have to be in to info@flystark.com and if we get 4 or more people then the following weeks flight will go ahead.

Flight info:

Mondays flight departs Whitianga @ 7.15am
Friday’s flight departs Ardmore @ 4.30pm

Flight time is 25 MINUTES!!!!

$150 each way.
Mobile number, weight and luggage weight required at time of booking.
*email booking required Thursday prior.
A free shuttle service to the Papakura train station included in the price


17 March 2018

Wanted : One Airline

Council takes steps on Kāpiti Coast Airport services

Kāpiti Coast District Council chief executive Wayne Maxwell says the Council is solutions focussed and taking action, following last week’s announcement by Air New Zealand to suspend flights between the Kāpiti Coast and Auckland. “We see a long term future for the airport and are engaging with other potential airline operators,” Mr Maxwell said. From this weekend, Council staff will be on the ground at the airport talking to travelers and gathering additional data about how the service is used. “This will assist us in working to bring another airline provider to Kāpiti,” he said. Mr Maxwell’s comments echo those of Mayor K Gurunathan, who last week affirmed his confidence in the airport’s long term future. The Council had already started conversations with other airlines as potential providers of an alternative service from Kāpiti. The Mayor was also quick to dispel suggestions of negative impacts on economic growth. “Growth in Kāpiti doesn’t rest and fall on Air New Zealand serving the airport,” Mayor K Gurunathan said. “We have a buoyant district economy and the expressways, Transmission Gully, quality rail links and daily flights to and from Nelson and Blenheim mean Kāpiti is connected and accessible to both the greater Wellington region, the central North Island and beyond.” Mr Maxwell said Council’s goal for Kāpiti was an open, functioning and viable airport – not just for economic reasons, but also for the key emergency management role the airport plays in the wider Wellington region’s resilience strategies. Former airport owner Sir Noel Robinson has also demonstrated his ongoing passion and vision for the District and the airport, commenting in a number of media interviews. This includes highlighting an increased awareness of the airport’s critical emergency management role as a logistics staging point, post the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake. “Since we were first alerted to Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw services from Kāpiti we have been in conversation with a range of interested parties to rally support and identify possible solutions,” he said. This includes Air Chathams, who fly to a number of destinations and stepped in to provide a service to Whanganui in similar circumstances. Kāpiti Coast Airport and its owner Todd Property, local MPs (Nathan Guy and Kris Faafoi), Air New Zealand, the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce, and our neighbouring Mayors in Porirua and Horowhenua have also been part of the Council’s discussions. “We are in the process of pulling together a feasibility study and business case looking at the ongoing viability of the airport, replacing the Air New Zealand service as a starting point,” Mr Maxwell said. “We are encouraged and bolstered by the business and community support of our initial response to the Air New Zealand announcement and will continue to take a lead in responding to their commercial decision. “While there will be a gap in the short-term, as far as we’re concerned we must have a replacement service within two to three months.”

Source : Press Release: Kapiti Coast District Council - 16 March 2018

Departing - Air New Zealand - the photo above is of the first scheduled Air New Zealand flight into Paraparaumu
Air2there operate daily services from Paraparaumu to Blenheim and Nelson
Sounds Air operate services from Paraparaumu to Blenheim and Nelson on three days a week
Air Chathams - the chief contender - have been silent so far 

14 March 2018

From Gisborne to Waikato Hospital

Air Gisborne is regularly flying into Hamilton these days... 

Beech King Air ZK-SKL is doing air ambulance work... This photo was taken out of my ATR window when about to fly to Wellington yesterday

Also coming in most days is Air Gisborne's Piper Navajo ZK-SRC (at rear) which brings medical staff and patients for appointments at Waikato Hospital

Wide Body Services to operate between Auckland – Christchurch

Air New Zealand will be operating services between Auckland and Christchurch using the Boeing 787-9 and 777-200 aircraft over the coming months. The following flights will be operated by a 787-9 and 777-200 aircraft:

So a little bit of mathematical deduction...

Fact 1 : Wide Body Boeings replacing Airbuses AKL-CHC-CHC

Fact 2 : Airbuses replacing ATRs WLG-CHC-WLG

Fact 3 : Small operators complaining about losing pilots