09 August 2020

Anemic Airliners

 Thanks to Alex who sent in some great photos last night of some very anemic airliners taken at Auckland on 8 August 2020

From right to left - Air Chathams' Fairchild Metroliner III ZK-CIC has had its White Island/Whakatane decals removed... In the background Barrier Air's Cessna 208 Grand Caravan has been browned off and is painted all white awaiting sale and Airwork's Boeing 737 ZK-PAU with the company's anemic no title scheme

A closer look at Fairchild Metroliner III ZK-CIC

Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDB

And despite Coral Sun Airways coming from close to the Equator, their PNG registered Beech Super King Air P2-ALC looks quite anemic too - It was in Auckland on a medevac. Coral Sun Airways operates Piper Aztec which, I believe, is leased to it by Sunair... ex ZK-WDP 

Virgin Australia - Hamilton's last international air service

On the 7th of December 2011 Pacific Blue was rebranded as Virgin Australia and it inherited the four times a week service between Brisbane and Hamilton. 

In March 2012 Virgin Australia decreased the number of flights between Hamilton and Brisbane from four to three a week due to softened demand. The company also indicated it would have to re-evaluate demand for the service if people didn't use it.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 ZK-PBJ at Hamilton in 2012

On the 14th of October 2012 Virgin Australia announced its intention to withdraw its Brisbane-Hamilton flights from the 27th of October 2012 due to a lack of demand. The route was being flown three times each week. Virgin Australia's New Zealand Executive General Manager, Mark Pitt, said, "Despite our support and our positive relationship with Hamilton Airport over the past three years, demand for this service has continued to deteriorate and the service is no longer sustainable. "Therefore, after careful consideration, we have made the decision to cease operating this service. Our last flight will be on 27 October." 

Part of the Virgin Australia fleet was Virgin Samoa's Boeing 737-800 ZK-PBF which is seen at Hamilton on 12 March 2012

Hamilton Airport CEO, Chris Doak, said the decision by Virgin Australia was disappointing for the region. "Virgin Australia has supported the region with their aircraft and has worked hard to connect with the local traveller. This was a decision that came down to passenger numbers. There just weren’t enough people using the services," he said. 

The final services were operated on the 26th and 27th of October 2012. Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 ZK-PBD operated inbound flight, PBN86, from Brisbane to Hamilton on the 26th of October 2012 and then on the 27th of October 2012 ZK-PBD operated the final flight, PBN85, from Hamilton to Brisbane. This marked the end of international flights to Hamilton.

Even though the airline was operating as Virgin Australia, the aircraft used at that time were still New Zealand registered and crewed. The transition to the aircraft being Australian registered happened long after Virgin Australia withdrew its Hamilton services.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 ZK-PBB on departure from Hamilton in 2012

These photos are 'borrowed' from Awesome in NZ's Flickr page, see https://www.flickr.com/photos/49222841@N06/
He has got some excellent photos, largely from Hamilton and Auckland around the early 2010s.
If you know who Awesome in NZ is and how to contact him can you let me know.

07 August 2020

Tauranga Spotting

I have had these photos to post for a while, all taken at Tauranga on 26 July 2020.
A bitterly cold wind but good company with Mark and Warwick also plane spotting
In my book Tauranga is the best airport in NZ for plane spotting.
Cessna 172 ZK-DFH waiting before its next fish spotting mission

Cessna 172RG heading home to Paraparaumu

Bell Jetranger ZK-HKB roaring off carting people somewhere
It's been a long time since I photographed a Hughes 300... ZK-HQF

A new one for me Bell Jetranger ZK-IIK

A couple of Cessna 172s on the taxi for departure, ZK-JKA...

... and ZK-JMC

Massey University Diamond DA40s ZK-MTF...

...and ZK-MTI

Another new one was Tecnam P96 Golf ZK-OGX

The Tauranga Aero Club's Cessna 152s ZK-TAK 


04 August 2020

What domestic Air NZ route hasn't restarted yet?

If you answered the question Hamilton-Palmerston North-Wellington you are correct... I'm not sure if that is the only route not operating yet. And I presume this is the reason Originair's BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH was in Hamilton today have flown Nelson-Palmerston North-Hamilton. It has now returned to Palmerston North. Perhaps doing a charter? Or is something else happening?

Originair BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH at Hamilton on 4 August 2020

Pacific Aerospace ZK-KEO at Hamilton on 4 August 2020 - perhaps ready for delivery???

03 August 2020

Interesting news here...

So what you notice??? There is a typo and there is an interesting piece of news...

There was a distinct buzz in the air when Chatham Islanders gathered at their airport for an announcement on Sunday. The press release to announce a $40 million cash boost was embargoed but the folks present had a pretty strong inkling they were in the money when the location for the announcement was revealed. It was a pretty jubilant crowd, says Mayor Monique Croon. Most of the money - $36 million - will go towards making their tiny Tuuta Airport longer and stronger. The 1400m runway will be extended by a further 400m. That means the local airline - Air Chathams - will eventually be able to upgrade their 1950s Convair 580 craft to 737s, cutting the travel time from Wellington to less than an hour and increasing capacity for passengers and freight, Croon hopes. More modern aircraft also meant a more reliable service for the island’s population of 663, she says. The grunty 60-plus-year-old Convair aircraft cannot land in fog or mist and it’s not uncommon for weather to close the airport and leave passengers and much-needed freight, like groceries for locals, stranded on the mainland for days. Air Chathams is already planning to introduce the 68-seat ART-72 in October once its long-range navigation equipment has been adapted to meet requirements for the route. But a longer runway will mean it can take a bigger payload of passengers and freight - a crucial development for the island’s tourism and export markets. Covid has been terrible in many ways but the Government’s shovel-ready fund had been a blessing for the island, Air Chathams chief operating officer Duane Emeny says. The need to fly bigger craft with capacity for much bigger payload was long overdue, he says. If the tourism and export market plays ball, he hoped to introduce 737s into their fleet by 2023. Air Chathams has been hurting since Covid reduced their flight schedule from 120 flights a week to the Chathams, Norfolk Island and various mainland destinations, to a paltry six flights. That’s a tough reality for a small, family-owned business. The silver lining of the more than five year battle for the runway project was that it had united the sometimes divided community in a common goal, says Emeny. The island, situated 800km east of the mainland, has been reeling from the Governments’ rejection of the airport upgrade under the Provincial Growth Fund last year. Croon says they had hoped to piggy-back the airport project onto the $50 million upgrade of its wharf in 2018. “We had been lobbying the government to fund the airport project on the back of the wharf because we had all the equipment here to just get on with it but it wasn’t to be.” The airport project will create at least 20 local jobs and a further spin-off of around 230 jobs in tourism jobs, Croon says. A tender process for the design and build will happen as soon as possible but it’s anticipated the new runway will be open by 2022. Maui Solomon, executive chairman of the Hokoteh  Moriori Trust, says Chatham Island was playing ‘catch-up’ with other mainland regions in terms of infrastructure developments. If tourism ramped up, much work would need to go on improving roads, additional accommodation and better internet connection, which was patchy at best. He hoped the development of the airport and the airline might mean cheaper airfares out to the Chathams, which can currently set you back north of $800 for a return fare. Current fares can be a barrier to tourists who could pay the same for a beach holiday in the Pacific, he says. But don’t hold your breath for cut-price fares. Emeny says it might be some time. With a Boeing 737, they would increase their payload departing the Chathams by an additional 6000KG. “Provided we have grown the market sufficiently by the time an aircraft like that is introduced then it could allow the airline to reduce rates for passengers and cargo.” The $40 million package announced by Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones, would also go into developing the shellfish aquaculture industry, creating a further 20 jobs. It would fund a dedicated tourism manager, help restore indigenous flora and fauna to a coastal area that has been cleared and grazed for more than 100 years, and improve electricity capacity on the island. NZ Airports Chief Executive Kevin Ward said the Chathams produces fantastic seafood but the problem has always been getting it to customers. The runway upgrade will allow bigger and faster aircraft to be used. The upgraded runway will be Boeing 737 capable – more than three times the weight of the current Convair aircraft – and will set the airport up for the next 50 years.

02 August 2020

Does this mean a Boeing 737 for a Convair replacement?

The Chatham Islands will receive close to $40 million for projects that will improve its infrastructure, add to its attraction as a visitor destination, and create jobs through a planned aquaculture venture, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the islands, first through the halting of crayfish and blue cod exports and then through the drying up of livestock and wool sales. Fishing and farming are the islands’ main sources of economic revenue. This, coupled with a lack of tourism, has resulted in an estimated of $20m in lost revenue to the island and unemployment of up to 30 per cent,” Shane Jones said. The Government has agreed to provide $36 million for an infrastructure project to lengthen and strengthen the runway at Tuuta Airport, on Chatham Island. “Every study on the issues and opportunities for the Chatham Islands economy has identified effective air services as critical for sustainable growth,” Shane Jones said. “This new runway will allow larger planes to use the airport, improving connectivity for those living on the island, and for visitors. Doing this work now, which includes associated infrastructure such as building, lighting and fencing upgrades, is expected to future-proof the airport for half a century.” The project, which is being overseen by Chatham Islands Airport Ltd, will create up to 20 jobs during the construction stage. It is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

In addition to funding the airport redevelopment, Shane Jones also announced a $2.15 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment in projects to further boost the regional economy through aquaculture, tourism and infrastructure. A total of $1.69 million has been allocated to two project to develop a shellfish aquaculture industry on the Chatham Islands. It is planned that the first farm will be established at Whangamoe Inlet, providing up to 20 jobs. “Chatham Islanders have a long connection to the kaimoana industry. This project will diversify the industry into shellfish and premium seafood smallgoods. It will provide jobs and training opportunities for locals, strengthen the local fishing industry, improve food security and enhance biodiversity,” Shane Jones said. Another $490,000 has been allocated to help establish a dedicated tourism manager for the Chathams to grow the tourism sector. “With the redevelopment of the airport, it is crucial that the islands are well-placed to take advantage of the potential that brings. There are many attractions on the islands, including Moriori petroglyphs and tree carvings. A new museum is being built, and the number of accommodation providers is increasing. “A dedicated tourism manager for the islands could be a game-changer in terms of attracting more visitors, and that means New Zealanders, to explore this piece of our country.”

30 July 2020

Flight Reintroductions

Sounds Air have re-introduced a number of flights between Wellington & Taupo and Blenheim & Christchurch to their August/September schedule!

From Tuesday 11 August Sounds Air are re-introducing morning services on Tuesdays and Thursdays:
• WLG-TUO 7:45am | TUO-WLG 9:15am

From Monday 31 August TAUPO flights will be available Mon-Thu AM and Tue-Fri PM.

From Wednesday 12 August Sounds Air are re-introducing midday services on Wednesdays and Fridays:
• BHE-CHC 11:45am | CHC-BHE 12:55pm

From Monday 31 August CHRISTCHURCH flights will be available Mon-Fri AM & PM + Sun PM + Mon/Wed/Fri Midday.

29 July 2020

Another Classic Flyer

A couple more photos Logan sent to me some days ago. He writes...

ZK-JGB (DC-3C)'s future has been more strongly set in stone. With air tours in the Hawke's Bay region now its official purpose. I spoke with some people affiliated with the DC-3, and they were measuring the cabin to organize a new seating layout. Once the seats are reconfigured. The aircraft is set to begin operating. A new livery is possible but I can't confirm the truth of that as of yet. 

Logan also tells me The Viking Twin Otter C-GVKI is set to remain present at Napier for the next months until border restrictions allow for its safe return to Canada

28 July 2020

The Beaver - Once Used on Some Air Services

The plane of the day award on Sunday at Tauranga went to DHC Beaver ZK-CKH

In the past Beavers have been used on some regular services...

The first was James Aviation which operated a Beaver from Tokoroa to Auckland...

Float Air Picton also ran a scheduled service from Picton to Porirua Harbour north of Wellington. I haven't done a profile on Float Air and their Flying Dolphin service yet but here are a couple of links to photos of their Beavers...

And from Tauranga Island Air Safaris ran a shuttle between Tauranga and Motiti Island... Again no profile done yet but photos here...

In addition to these regular service operations other operators have used Beavers for flightseeing

More reflection on MRO

I missed seeing this last week... An interesting read from the Wairarapa Times

Wairarapa politicians are ready to fly from Hood Aerodrome, but airlines are not set for take-off. Wednesday’s announcement of a multi-million-dollar investment in the airstrip relaunched talk of a Masterton-Auckland commuter trip. Councillors, MPs, and officials seem keen to attract commuter flights back to the airfield. But with airlines reeling from the covid-19 lockdown, big city arrivals are not imminent, says the company most often linked with running the service. A $17 million local and national government pledge will pay for runway widening and lengthening, and infrastructure upgrades. Masterton District Council will supplement the $10 million from central government with $7 million in funding, from its renewals budget, reserves, loan funding, and user fees and charges, Kath Ross, MDC chief executive said. Ross said the work aimed to “transform Hood from a community airfield, supporting recreational pilots and a select group of commercial operators, to a centre for cutting-edge commercial activity, manufacturing, and training, alongside existing and new tourism attractions and businesses. This work will open the door to some exciting opportunities for future business development.” But Air Chathams, repeatedly linked with landing in Wairarapa, are interested in talks only at this stage. Air New Zealand ended regular flights linking Masterton to main centres in 2014. It was thought smaller providers would see a gap in the market. But they have been reluctant to sign up to date. Duane Emeny, Air Chathams’ general manager, said they had to be persuaded to submit a business case to Masterton District Council last year. “You know it’s getting hard when they come to you and say “can you please put an application in?,” he said. “We thought about it, decided ‘well, we will’. But in all honesty we limped into it. “We weren’t overly impressed with the research that had gone on into what services there would be.” He said the company had held talks in the past with Wairarapa representatives, and would again. But Hood’s current infrastructure was “really limited” for the fleet. “I haven’t been privy to the detail but what I understand it’s a widening and lengthening of the runway. Our CEO, my father [Craig Emeny], said to the Mayor [Lyn Patterson, of Masterton] point blank that is what absolutely must happen. It looks like they’ve taken that onboard, and got that across the line with government, which is great.” Emeny said he did think a service could be successful, but had concerns over bureaucracy across all Wairarapa’s districts. “We think there may be strong demand as it’s a beautiful part of the world and there are a lot of people who live there who do business in Auckland, or internationally. “It’s quite similar to Whanganui in that respect. My only concern would be the separation of districts, from north to south. With recent experience, it could be like in the Kapiti Coast, where each community is fragmented and slightly unique. I think Wairarapa is similar, so it’s hard to get that real parochial support that we do get in Whanganui and eastern Bay [of Plenty] regions.” He said although the prospect was “a long way away”, Air Chathams would “certainly be interested in a conversation”. However, the impact of the pandemic response made expansion in the short term highly unlikely. He said the company had scaled back about 35 per cent of its schedule after international flights out of Auckland ended. International flights dropped by 95 per cent during lockdown, and connecting services are a main source of airline income. Patterson said, “it is no secret that we want an air passenger service to return. Without this service, our regional businesses lack important essential national and international connectivity. And with the large number of people moving to the Wairarapa, re-establishing a link to Auckland would enable people to commute to Auckland. It would also support the region’s tourism sector.” As one of the shovel ready projects funded by central government, the upgrades at Hood Aerodrome should start within 12 months.

27 July 2020

Bay of Plenty Airlines

Once again wearing Sunair titles, Cessna 172 ZK-CBZ at Tauranga on 18 July 2020

Later on the same afternoon, Air Chathams' Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF at Whakatane

Air New Zealand ATR 72-600 ZK-MVU at Tauranga on 18 July 2020

...and Bombardier Q300 ZK-NFB at Tauranga on 26 July 2020

26 July 2020

Westport Freight Flights

Announced by Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau on Friday was a $3 million IRG investment in Apollo Aviation - Hawk Eye Limited and Apollo Autonomy - to further develop software that will enable unmanned airfreight operations, with an operation run out of Nelson and initial piloted flights between Nelson, Westport and Christchurch. The Apollo Aviation project will create up to 10 jobs in the short term, and between 25-40 permanent jobs as the project develops.

The New Zealand company appears to be owned John Chisholm who set up Texel Air in Bahrain which is now a 3 aircraft 737 combi freighter/passenger operation... 

There would not a lot of demand for freight flights to Westport but one can see the Nelson-Westport-Christchurch freight services being a pilot for Middle East freight operations.

25 July 2020

NZ's latest Jetstream

Thanks to AgAirNZ for these two photos of BAe Jetstream 32 TF-ORG which arrived from Iceland into Auckland on Thursday night and then flew on to Palmerston North the following day. It is presumed the Jetstream will eventually go to Originair as they had been expecting a new aircraft before lockdown, see https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2020/04/what-was-coming.html

BAe Jetstream 32 TF-ORG at Auckland on 24 July 2020... Will it become ZK-ORG

Whakatane Update

It's still very slow movements for our local airline Air Chathams, as it tries to make a comeback from COVID-19. Chief Executive Duane Emeny has told Radio 1XX, although it's great to see planes back in the air, it's still tough as the company has taken a big loss. Prior to COVID-19, Air Chathams had 35 flights a week between Auckland and Whakatane, but now it is only operating 24 a week. Mr Emeny says feedback from customers is the flight schedule is catering for people that want to travel to Auckland, but not people that want to travel to Whakatane. This has led to the airline revising its schedule, to have a flight departing Auckland at 8am from Monday to Thursday.

Daily Schedule Returns to Kaitaia

Barrier Air has announced that from 14 August they will be returning to a 7 day a week Kaitaia schedule with the return of their daytime Tuesday and Saturday services!

The times are:

1100 Auckland - Kaitaia
1240 Kaitaia - Auckland