|Mount Cook Airlines' colours - Sea Bee Air titles... Above Gruman Widgeon ZK-CFA taken at Mechanics Bay on 30 December 1976 and below Grumman Goose ZK-DFC taken at Mechanics Bay on 10 October 1976.|
|The first timetable, effective 22 October 1976|
Gulf News, 28 January 1977
In the first year of operation Sea Bee Air carried 14,830 passengers between Waiheke Island and Auckland with demand for the service growing. Commenting on the company’s success Murray Pope told the Gulf News that, "We don't run as many flights… so our planes are fuller. We've done away with a lot of overheads. And the ferry alternative has deteriorated further and has probably alienated more people. Keeping fares at a minimum level was obviously an incentive for travellers, and the company was endeavouring to hold fares down as long as possible.” He also announced that Sea Bee would be looking to buy another 10-seat Grumman Goose and hoped to lift patronage on its Waiheke flights up to 20,000 per annum. He also noted the two flights daily to Paihia were well patronised, but traffic to Great Barrier Island was seasonal. A scheduled stop-off was made at Kawau Island, but Mr Pope said there was little traffic to Kawau after the Mansion House Hotel was closed in 1973. He also said two emergency "medical" flights were made each week.
|Grumman Widgeon ZK-AVM at Mechanics Bay on 9 May 1978.|
In 1978 a hovercraft was used to establish a fast ferry link between Waiheke and Auckland. Sea Bee Air immediately experienced a 25% downturn in traffic but the hovercraft service did not prove successful and so a second Grumman G-21A Goose, ZK-ENY (c/n 1145), was added to the fleet late in 1978.
|The new Goose, ZK-ENY at Mechanics Bay in September 1981... on my first trip to Auckland. I wish I'd gone for a fly...|
|The ill-fated Grumman Widgeon ZK-BGQ taken at Mechanics Bay on 10 June 1979.|
|McKinnon Turbo Goose, ZK-ERX, at Mechanics Bay with the Tuvalu flag on the tail. Photographer unknown|
|Grumman Widgeon ZK-CFA at Mechanics Bay on 3 August 1984.|
|BN Islander ZK-FMS at Auckland on 2 November 1986.|
|Timetable for the Ruapheu flights, August 1988|
Grumman Goose ZK-ENY was cancelled from the register in November 1989 and exported to Australia as VH-ENY. The helicopter operation was sold to The Helicopter Line later that year. Grumman Goose ZK-DFC flew the last commercial flight during Easter 1990, though the aircraft was not sold until September 1991 when it was exported to the USA as N3116T. So ended New Zealand’s history of amphibious air services.
|I had to sprint from the car to get Grumman Goose waddling into the water at Paihia on 31 October 1986.|
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