23 March 2011

Au Revoir Air National - 4. Corporate Jets


Mike Condon has submitted this next installment in the Air National story.

In addition to the airline style passenger charter and adhoc operations, Air National established a corporate jet management service in conjunction with their fixed base ground handling operation "Skycare" and JetPlus, http://www.jetplus.co.nz/

The first corporate jet to be operated by Air National was Gulfstream 4SP ZK-KFB (c/n 1362) on behalf of Wellington based movie director, Peter Jackson.  As N888LK, this top end Gulfstream arrived at Auckland on 31 May 2003 from Taipei and Cairns and for the next 6 weeks conducted flying operations on the US registration.  It became ZK-KFB/1 on  15 July 2003 (personalised registration for Jackson's daughter Kate, partner Fran and son Billy).  The GIV flew a training detail using the callsign "National 401" on 07 August 2003 and it visited Palmerston North and Wellington including an instrument approach at Nelson.  The following day it departed Auckland for Apia and Honolulu on its first international foray on the ZK register. 
The owner signalled his intention to upgrade to the larger Gulfstream 550 in 2008 and its pending arrival in 2010 saw Execujet takeover the management of Jackson's jet and ZK-KFB/1, the Gulfstream 4SP, departed Auckland 30 April 2010 for Papeete and Los Angeles before later heading to Savannah.  It spent a short time on the US register and has since become VQ-BMT.

November 2006 in its original livery. Photo : M Condon

Queenstown March 2008 in its new livery (also worn by the G550 bearing the same registration) Photo : M Condon
The second bizjet to arrive for Air National was an IAI Westwind registered ZK-RML (c/n 339).  It arrived on the register 07 April 2005 having arrived as N90KC on 22 March at the conclusion of its delivery flight.  It carried out a weekend trip to Fiji and back a few days later still on the N register.  The jet was employed on occasion for aeromedical evacuation flights to the Pacific Islands however in recent years this seems to have been taken over by Careflight with Australian based aircraft.  ZK-RML remains registered to Air National Corporate however it has not flown, to the best of the author's knowledge, since 25 August 2010.

Departing Ardmore June 2006

Carrying on the tradition of introducing first of type's to NZ skies, Air National took delivery of a Gulfstream G200 (previously known as the IAI Galaxy) in 2007 when ZK-RGB (c/n 158) arrived for the Bagnall Family.  As N658GA, the G200 made its first visit to Auckland on 08 September 2007 arriving from Brisbane and it had departed from Dallas/ Love Field in July and spent much of the NZ winter in Europe.  It became ZK-RGB on 28 November 2007 and remains registered to Air National Corporate.  There are reports the owner is interested in upsizing to a Gulfstream 550 so watch this space.

Auckland December 2007. Photo : Wayne Grant photo

Auckland November 2007. Photo : Colin Hunter

Long time NZ resident joined the ZK register on 15 June 2010 when Citation 501 N800DT became ZK-NBR (c/n 501-0198).  Operated on behalf of Barry Coleman, owner of the National Business Review and Liberty Press, N800DT arrived in NZ back in December 2002 and was operated out of Ardmore by Corporate Flight Services.  The aircraft was wooed to move "camp" and arrived at Auckland from Ardmore on 19 May 2010.  It was first noted marked as ZK-NBR on 28 May but was not offically registered until three weeks later.  Its first flight as ZK-NBR was recorded on 28 June when it flew from Auckland to Hamilton and back.
25 October 2010. Photo : S Lowe
Air National Corporate were contracted to provide management for another Gulfstream G200 Galaxy in 2010 on behalf of the Vela Family in Hamilton and Lane Family of Auckland.  N533GA arrived at Auckland from Singapore via Darwin and Brisbane on 05 October 2010 wearing its future markings of ZK-VGL under the temporary N registration.   However prior to its arrival circumstances changed and the jet's operation was bought 'in house' to be managed by its owners so it remains as N533GA and resides at Hamilton where it first arrived on 20 October having initally taken hangarage with Network Jets at  Auckland.

The jets currently registered to Air National Corporate (ZK-NBR, ZK-RGB and ZK-RML) may well remain with the operator under the guise of either Skycare or Jetplus, time will no doubt tell.

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