30 January 2015

Two from Taupo

I had a quick trip to Taupo a few days ago... not much flying and only a couple of aircraft to photograph

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-JMP at Taupo on 27 January 2015
Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HBW at Taupo on 27 January 2015


29 January 2015

In the Inbox #2 - Repaint Continues

Another from my email inbox...

Hi there my name is Matthew Gibson and while I was waiting for My flight arrive. I noticed that Air New Zealand has painted up a new Dash 8. This photo was Taken at Hawkes Bay airport and you're welcome to stick it up on your blog letting everyone know about it. The rego is ZK-NES 

Newly repainted Q300 ZK-NES at Napier on 27 January 2015 with rain water on the ground! We need some over here...
On the repaint programme Air Nelson's Q300s ZK-NEP/Q/R/S are in the new livery and ZK-NET is due back in service on 29 January in new livery
 
Cheers for the photo Matthew


In the Inbox #1 - Kiwi now in Aussie

Dylan wrote in a couple of days ago...

Hi, I am a keen follower of your blog and it keeps me in touch with NZ GA, so thankyou!

I fly in Darwin where we had aircraft VH - NJS, and today I happened to see the aircraft's logbooks which included New Zealand logbook! I was quite surprised and your photo is the ONLY photo I can find online

http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/25-years-ago-november-1988-three-pipers.html 

I've attached photos of the aircraft taken last year some 26 years later!!

Since you also included the name of the owner on your website it's clear to see why it was registered NJS! (Although I believe that's common with aircraft ownership anyway).

If you took any Great Northern Air Race photos I'm looking forward to seeing them too.

Sorry Dylan... Didn't get to see this year's race. Thanks for the pics




28 January 2015

And another pic of the new Westport plane...

Another shot of Sounds Air's new Pilatus PC-12 which will be used on the Westport run from late April. Photo taken at Auckland on 28 April 2015


Westport Plane Arrives

Arriving into Auckland today was Sounds Air's new Pilatus PC-12 VH-KWO earmarked for the Wellington-Westport service. I'm really looking forward to checking it out...


On the start up is Pilatus PC12 VH-KWO at Auckland on 28 January 2015 before its flight to Omaka. To the left is Skyline Aviation's Beech King Air ZK-ZZA

This is what it is scheduled to look like

What name for new Whakatane service?



Air Chathams is the Eastern Bay’s new airline although it may not be flying into Whakatane Airport under that name. The airline is keen to give the service a local flavour with Sunshine Airways and Eastern Bay Air suggested as possible names. Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne announced yesterday that Air Chathams had been selected as the preferred provider of scheduled flights between Whakatane and Auckland. Increased capacity, improved passenger comfort and a significant upgrade in freight capabilities were cited as potential outcomes of the proposed new service, due to be introduced at the end of April when the Air New Zealand service ended. Mr Bonne said the proposal would see a locally-branded service provided by Air Chathams, utilising its fleet of 50-seat Convair 580 airliners, pictured below, and 19-seat Metroliner aircraft. “I’m delighted to announce that a replacement service has been offered, which could provide significant potential for growth and a genuine opportunity for the Eastern Bay of Plenty to build a partnership with an airline which is committed to attractively-priced fares and developing travel, accommodation and activity packages which will boost the region’s profile as a short-stay domestic tourism destination,” he said. The announcement follows an extraordinary meeting of the Whakatane District Council yesterday, which confirmed Air Chathams as the preferred service provider for Whakatane-Auckland scheduled flights. The council also approved the extra funding required (subject to Ministry of Transport approval) for the expenditure needed to bring Whakatane Airport up to certification standard for use by the airline’s larger aircraft. Air Chathams managing director Craig Emeny said the company viewed the Whakatane-Auckland service as a great opportunity to expand upon its current scheduled services between the Chatham Islands and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. “This route has enjoyed solid loadings for many years and, for the most part, the services which have been timed to meet business travellers’ needs have been close to full,” he said. “We intend to offer two return services a day at times which will allow businesspeople to have a full day in the city, and because we can seat 50 people, we’ll be able to more than double passenger numbers at those key service times. “We’re also looking forward to working closely with the council and the local tourism industry to create the sort of packages and publicity needed to put the ‘sunshine capital’ on the map for people looking for weekend escapes.” The airline’s twin-engined, turboprop Convair 580 airliner is fully pressurised and passengers will appreciate its roomy cabin and cabin crew service. Air speed is comparable to the existing Beech 1900 service, so flight times will not change significantly. Air Chathams’ Metroliner may also be used when passenger numbers are lower. The aircraft and its crew will be based at Whakatane Airport. “We’d like to give the service a local flavour and branding,” Mr Emeny said. “Sunshine Airways and Eastern Bay Air are both possibilities, but we’d appreciate the community’s feedback on those, or other suggestions which would capture the magic of the area.” Mr Bonne said the council would continue to work with the Government to ensure that the airport, which was a 50:50 joint-venture with the Ministry of Transport, remained a viable long-term operation. “The airport plays a key role in the region’s transport infrastructure, opening up access to the rest of the country for our 47,000 residents. “It also makes an important contribution to our business sector and our economy and we look forward to seeing that grow over the coming years.” The Air Chathams service is expected to begin on April 29 and the airline intends to have a dedicated website and booking portal operating by the end of February.

Source : Whakatane Beacon

27 January 2015

Air Chathams for Whakatane



It has been confirmed today that Air Chathams will take over flights between Whakatane and Auckland. Increased capacity, improved passenger comfort and a significant upgrade in freight capabilities are potential outcomes of the proposed new air service, to be introduced on the route when Air New Zealand withdraws its scheduled services at the end of April. Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne said the proposal would see a locally-branded service provided by Air Chathams, utilising its fleet of 50-seat Convair 580 airliners and 19-seat Metroliner aircraft. "I'm delighted to announce that a replacement service has been offered, which could provide significant potential for growth and a genuine opportunity for the Eastern Bay of Plenty to build a partnership with an airline which is committed to attractively-priced fares and developing travel, accommodation and activity packages which will boost the region's profile as a short-stay domestic tourism destination," he said. The announcement followed an extraordinary council meeting today, which has confirmed Air Chathams as the preferred service provider for Whakatane-Auckland scheduled flights. The council has also approved the extra funding required (subject to Ministry of Transport approval) for the expenditure needed to bring Whakatane Airport up to certification standard for use by the airline's larger aircraft. Air Chathams managing director, Craig Emeny, said the company viewed the Whakatane to Auckland service as a great opportunity to expand upon its current scheduled services between the Chatham Islands and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. "This route has enjoyed solid loadings for many years and, for the most part, the services which have been timed to meet business travellers' needs have been close to full," he said. "We intend to offer two return services a day at times which will allow businesspeople to have a full day in the city, and because we can seat 50 people, we'll be able to more than double passenger numbers at those key service times. We're also looking forward to working closely with the council and the local tourism industry to create the sort of packages and publicity needed to put the 'sunshine capital' on the map for people looking for weekend escapes." The airline's twin-engined, turboprop Convair 580 airliner is fully pressurised and passengers will appreciate its roomy cabin and cabin crew service. Air speed is comparable to the existing Beech 1900 service, so flight times will not change significantly. Air Chathams' Metroliner may also be used when passenger numbers are lower. The aircraft and its crew will be based at Whakatane Airport. "We'd like to give the service a local flavour and branding," Mr Emeny said. "Sunshine Airways and Eastern Bay Air are both possibilities, but we'd appreciate the community's feedback on those, or other suggestions which would capture the magic of the area." Mr Bonne said the council would continue to work with the Government to ensure that the airport, which is a 50:50 joint-venture with the Ministry of Transport, remained a viable long-term operation. "The airport plays a key role in the region's transport infrastructure, opening up access to the rest of the country for our 47,000 residents. It also makes an important contribution to our business sector and our economy and we look forward to seeing that grow over the coming years." The Air Chathams service is expected to commence on April 29 and the airline intends to have a dedicated website and booking portal operating by the end of February.

More on the Air Ambulance Proposal



Sounds Air’s proposal to provide an air ambulance service in addition to a scheduled air service between Westport and Wellington is a big plus for Buller, says mayor Garry Howard. Sounds Air will take over Air New Zealand’s Westport to Wellington service in April. It is spending about $6 million buying two nine-seater Pilatus PC12s, formerly owned by Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service. It also plans to provide charters and is gearing up for medical transfers. Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford said yesterday that the airline planned to buy US$65,000 worth of medical gear so its planes could offer an emergency ambulance service. Mr Howard said the council was “really excited” about the benefits of an air ambulance service to the West Coast. “That’s something that we are encouraging and we will have discussions with the DHB with regard to that. This is really a good thing for the Coast. It certainly is going to assist with Westport and Karamea in particular.” He said his council would also be talking to Sounds Air about additional services at Westport Airport to benefit ratepayers. At present, Air New Zealand covered a number of the services at the airport, such as check-in, and rented the airport terminal “We will be looking at a package where we will be able to combine a number of jobs,” Mr Howard said. Westport Airport would lose about $600 in landing fees a year when Sounds Air took over, he said. The airline would pay less than Air New Zealand because it operated lighter planes, even though it would offer more flights. The fees are set every five years by the Ministry of Transport and won’t be reviewed until 2018. Westport Airport is owned by the Buller District Council and the Ministry of Transport. It made a net deficit of $107,855 for the year to June 30, 2014. The Westport Airport Authority now has accumulated losses of over $1m. Authority chief executive Sonia Cresswell said the airport accounts actually broke even but depreciation pushed them into the red. A change in airline operator might open the way for more income opportunities in future, she said. Sounds Air would pay for any new signage and marketing at the airport. “We anticipate any branding installed by Sounds Air will reflect the excellent standards the Sounds Air business is known for.” Air New Zealand has agreed to gift the council some of its ground handling equipment at the airport. The equipment had a book value of up to $30,000, Ms Cresswell said. The authority had received an excellent response both locally and nationally to the announcement of the new air service and looked forward to the opportunities the service offered the Coast, she said.

Source : Westport News

For photos of the PC-12s in Royal Flying Doctor Service usage see 

26 January 2015

Processes vs Common Sense

Passengers were ordered off a flight to Melbourne after a tradesman left a screwdriver in Christchurch Airport's departure terminal. The passengers, who were boarding when the error was noticed on Saturday afternoon, were sent through security screening checks again. An airport spokewoman said the contractor regularly did maintenance around the terminal, sometimes after hours. When he realised he had misplaced a screwdriver, he "followed the correct processes, which resulted in our standard security processes being initiated", she said. Passengers were taken off the Virgin Airlines flight and sent through the screening process again. The 4pm flight was delayed by one hour and nine minutes. "The passengers were informed we had a security incident and were very understanding," the spokeswoman said. The screwdriver was found in the terminal.


What would common sense say?

Alliance at Manapouri


A private Australian charter company had its inaugural touchdown at Te Anau Airport Manapouri last week. An Alliance Airlines Fokker 50 made its first trip to Fiordland on Tuesday, a training run for staff before tours commence. Alliance Airlines chief operating officer Lee Schofield said they would be conducting the tour twice a week. "Primarily the aircraft is over there for a series of charters for Tauck, a fairly prestigious inbound U.S. tour company." he said. "It is exciting, certainly for us and I daresay for a few of the communities on the route as well." There was potential for New Zealand staff to be recruited once the airline found its feet. and the Fokker 50 would also be available for private charters on its off-days. Mr Schofield said. "There will be some down times and the aircraft will remain in New Zealand for the next four years," he said. "Initially we're crewing from our Australian employees for pilots and flight attendants, but all other services we've contracted New Zealand companies to handle that. Ground handling at Te Anau is all locals." Te Anau Airport Manapouri manager Evan Pearce said the first official tour had touched down on Saturday. They call it the little Fokker," he said. Alliance had remarked at how professional the service on the ground at Manapouri had been. and the potential for further New Zealand staffing as well as private charters was exciting, Mr Pearce said. At this stage they come into Manapouri at about half past five, then they fly directly to Auckland. If we can get the aeroplane to stay overnight that would give more options to locals." Alliance Airlines replaced Air Chathams as the provider contracted with Tauck Tours. a company offering a 10-day package visiting Wellington, Blenheim. Manapouri, Queenstown. Rotorua. and Auckland. Charter inquiries for the Fokker 50 can be directed to charter@ allianceairlines.com.au or by phoning +61 7 3212 1212 

Source : Fiordland Advocate, 22 January 2015

For photos of the Fokker 50 see