28 March 2017

Air Milford - Trying a Schedule

Air Milford was established by David and Philip Bunn in 1993. In 1996 Hank Sproull joined the company after 30 years working for Mount Cook Airline and in 1998 he took over the business. He continued to maintain a close involvement with the day to day management of the company as well as filling the role of chief pilot and as a qualified aircraft engineer.

Air Milford has always seen itself as a tour company that focuses on sightseeing tours of the Queenstown, Fiordland and South Island regions. Mainstay of the sightseeing flights are those from Queenstown to Milford Sound but scenic flights are also offered over the Queenstown area, Doubtful Sound and to Mount Cook.

The initial aircraft used by Air Milford were Cessna A185F ZK-ENW Skywagon (c/n 18503133) and Cessna U206F Stationair ZK-DWX (c/n U20602641). 

On the taxi at Queenstown, Cessna 185 ZK-ENW on 20 November 2010
Air Milford's Cessna 206, ZK-DWX at Milford Sound on 10 January 2014

In 2005 the company introduced Cessna 208 Caravan, ZK-SKB (c/n 20800244) to its fleet and it made its first flight to Milford Sound on the 6th of May 2005. In late 2011 Air Milford built a new $250,000 hangar and revamped its existing offices. The 19m-wide, 24m-long hangar was built to also accommodate the company’s Cessna Caravan and the two smaller Cessnas. 

Air Milford at Milford... Cessna Caravan ZK-SKB arrives at Milford Sound on 10 January 2014

With the demand for its services increasing Air Milford looked to purchase a second Cessna Caravan. Delays in its delivery led the company to lease Salt Air's Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-MJL during the 2013/14 summer. In January 2014 Antony Sproull, Air Milford's operations manager, along with two other ferry pilots, flew Cessna 208 Caravan SX-SKV from Greece to Queenstown via the Greek Islands, Egypt, Oman, the Maldives, the Cocos Islands and Australia to Queenstown where it was registered ZK-SKA (c/n 20800524).

Air Milford's Cessna Caravan ZK-SKA. Photo : Air Milford Facebook page

A third brand new Cessna Caravan ZK-SKM (c/n 20800581) arrived from the United States in February 2016. The ferry flight took was piloted by Air Milford's chief pilot Matt Cameron and professional ferry pilot John Smith across the Pacific from California to Hawaii, Pago Pago, Auckland & Queenstown.

In December 2016 Air Milford announced it would begin its first scheduled service between Te Anau and Queenstown in early 2017 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."  

The first scheduled flight to Te Anau's Manapouri Airport was flown on 21 January using Cessna Caravan ZK-SKA flown by Antony Sproull. A second Caravan, ZK-SKB, was also needed for the return flight. The flight carried two paying passengers - Eleanor Pearson and her 8-year-old grandson Kayden Pei. It was Kayden's first time on a plane. The 25-minute flight that showcased views of Mt Nicholas, Mavora Lakes, Von Valley and Lord of the Rings scenery. Antony Sproull said. "If the service was a success, a permanent service would be run through the summer time as fog and weather conditions in winter would be a hinderance." 

Cessna Caravans ZK-SKM and ZK-SKA at Manapouri. Photo : Air Milford

27 March 2017

New Rotorua Flights

FlightHauraki's Facebook page has announced that are operating a scheduled daily flight from Auckland (Ardmore Airport) to Rotorua. The morning flight departs Ardmore at 8:00 am and the return flight departs Rotorua at 5.30 pm. Special introductory flights are being offered at $99.00 each way. 

Tickets are available at $99.00 per sector.

Flights can be booked by calling 0508 235 969 or explore www.flighthauraki.co.nz

25 March 2017

A quick stop at Ardmore...

I dropped off a friend at Auckland International yesterday and partly to avoid the crawling traffic along the Southern Motorway I did a quick detour through Ardmore...

Outside and ready for a charter was FlightHauraki's Piper PA31 Navajo ZK-JGA. Photo taken at Ardmore on 24 March 2017

I have updated my profile on FlightHauraki - it can be found here

Also captured at Ardmore was Rockwell Commander 114 ZK-JHL.

22 March 2017

Sunair's Whangarei Expansion

Air travellers will soon have an option for same day travel to Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua or Great Barrier Island from Whangarei without the need to travel through Auckland. Encouraged by the increasing population of Whangarei and the surrounding districts, Tauranga based commercial airline Sunair Aviation is extending into Whangarei with scheduled flights out of Whangarei starting April 3. The company is privately owned by Dan and Bev Power who are proud of its 30 year history and excellent safety record. Dan is a commercial pilot and qualified aircraft engineer while Bev takes care of the office and administration part of the business. It offers a fleet of Piper Aztec six seater all weather planes. The airline has created its own terminal at the Whangarei airport by refurbishing an existing building which will allow easy boarding and disembarking. "There is ample free parking and the terminal has coffee and tea making facilities," Bev says. "Initially an experienced flight crew will be relocated to Whangarei from existing Sunair bases." The opportunity to employ local crews may be considered in the future. Daily flights are scheduled Monday to Friday with a 15 minute check-in required. "Same day return flights eliminate overnight accommodation costs for businesses and leisure travellers." One way flights range from $190 to $290 depending on the destination. Charter services will also be available. Bookings can be made by phone, email, via the website and through a 24 hr call centre. At this stage no personal bookings will be taken at the terminal. Power says Sunair is already operating flights from Whangarei for the Northland District Health Board and have been approached to extend this further. The company has been selected by the All-of-Government panel to be one of two non jet (the other is in the South Island) preferred carriers for all Government personnel air travel. In addition Sunair is starting a flight training school at the airport which will include training for both private pilot and commercial licences. The company currently runs a training school in Tauranga and will offer this same level of service to the local community. A training aircraft will be based at Whangarei.

Sunair's new timetable, effective 3 April 2017

The Sounds Air Pilatus Movie

Check out Sounds Air's "Pilatus movie"

20 March 2017

5 minutes, 3 photos at Kerikeri

I had a five minute stop at Kerikeri's Bay of Islands Airport this morning, 20 March 2017 and tokke three quick photos...

First in was Air New Zealand's Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEB
A couple of minutes behind was NZ Air Ambulance Services' Beech Super King Air ZK-MFT

And just behind it was Skyworks Helicopters' Squirrel ZK-HSS

19 March 2017

More flyers for Sunair

Tauranga-based airline Sunair Aviation has become the first regional non-jet operator in the North Island to be selected as a preferred air carrier on the All of Government panel. The airline tendered for the panel last year and, after an exhaustive process, was advised late last year that its application had succeeded. The new status became effective from the beginning of this month and the airline has already begun carrying government personnel. "We're very excited about this - it's a real coup for us," said director Bev Power, who co-owns the airline with her husband, Daniel, the chief executive and a certified commercial pilot and aeronautical engineer. Last year All of Government air travel was said to be worth $223 million, split between a number of large operators. Jetstar made it on to the panel this year for the first time, but the only other regional non-jet carrier to be selected was the South Island's Picton-based Sounds Air. New Zealand Government Procurement said suppliers on the new panel collectively provided the Government with a suitable range of services for international and domestic travel while increasing connectivity to New Zealand's regions.

Source : 

Is it just me or is there is something seriously wrong here???

Two top car rental franchises have abandoned Whanganui due to the city losing its ties with Air New Zealand. Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny said he received an email from the Avis head office last week stating that both Avis and Budget had closed in Whanganui. "It's not a good thing - we want people to have a range of options and not having a leading car rental service, like Avis and Budget, takes away customer choice which means people may opt to fly to Palmerston North instead," he said. Mr Emeny said Air Chathams had started working with Avis and Budget and had altered their website with an online portal to the car rentals' website. "Interestingly, when we started a flight route from Auckland to Whakatane, Avis and Budget decided to pull out. "Unfortunately for us Air New Zealand has a lock on corporates as well as commercial agreements with companies like car rentals," Mr Emeny said. Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said it was a real disappointed the two companies had decided to leave. "It's a shame that these large businesses are pulling out but it may be an opportunity for a local car hire service to fill the gap," Mr McDouall said. A concerned customer rang the Avis head office yesterday after not being able to book a car on Saturday and was told Whanganui was not worth the spend for the franchise. "In a city of 46,000 people, with Air Chathams flying in three times and out three times, I find that hard to believe, " the customer said. "I know of two people just last week who picked up a rental in Whanganui to drive to Hastings." Budget Rent a Car New Zealand was wholly owned by the Avis Budget Group. It is understood that Hertz and Pegasus Rental Cars are the only franchises left in Whanganui.

Airline Wanted for Masterton

Work is underway to bring a commercial airline back to Wairarapa. Discussions have been ongoing between Masterton District Council and leading New Zealand airlines, with a registration of interest to go out in the next few weeks. Hood Aerodrome Manager David Hayes said there were “no guarantees” that a suitable airline would be secured, but was hoping to secure a service similar to what Air New Zealand offered previously – “in other words, the Masterton to Auckland route”. “In my opinion, the issue is not starting up an airline – that’s do-able,” he said. “The issue is, can we get one that’s going to endure and be sustainable? The world is littered with examples of small airlines starting up on small routes and failing, so we’re not unique in that regard. We’ve got to be really careful to get it right if it’s going to survive.” Mr Hayes said council staff had analysed the likely travel demand in Wairarapa, “and based on that work, we think the demand could be well in excess of what Air New Zealand offered previously”. 

‘Strong demand for Auckland link’
Air New Zealand ran a service in Masterton through its subsidiary, Eagle Air, from 2009 until it was cancelled in 2013 due to a reduction of the Beechcraft fleet. In 2014, Masterton District Council accepted a proposal from Vincent Aviation to operate weekday flights over its rival, Air Chathams, but the company went into liquidation later that year and the service never eventuated. “We know there is a strong demand for a commuter service to Auckland,” Mr Hayes said. “And we know this is driven by the demand of largely business travel. We’ve had people say if there was a reliable Auckland to Masterton link, they would start thinking very seriously about moving to Wairarapa. “However, as we know, despite there being a strong demand, it is difficult to get a viable commercial service, so there are no guarantees in this process.” Mr Hayes said it was too early to know what size aircraft would be likely. “We’d be looking at the whole range, from the smaller ones which are ten seats to the larger ones with more than 30 seats.” The next step along with the registration of interest process was to get businesses and community leaders involved in discussions. There are funds available if further development is required at Hood Aerodrome.

18 March 2017

Hamilton Planes in Kaitaia

A quick visit to Kaitaia Airport today (18 March 2017) saw six Hamilton based aircraft visiting.... I could have caught a flight up...

Piper Cherokee 140 ZK-ECY
Tecnam Astore UL ZK-RGH
Tecnam P2002 Sierra RG ZK-SRG

Cessna 172 ZK-WAM
Alpha R2160 ZK-WCD
Zenair Zenith CH-200 ZK-ZEN