08 April 2012

The 27 day airline - Coastal Airways

In January 1958 Sidney Stringers’s Coastal Airways Ltd applied for a licence to operate an air service from Auckland’s Whenuapai airport to Whangarei, Kaikohe and Kaitaia using two De Havilland DH89B Dominies. At that stage NAC was operating a DC-3 service to Kaikohe and Kaitaia and three Monday to Saturday return Dominie services between Whenuapai and Whangarei with an additional flight operated on Mondays and Fridays.

De Havilland DH89 Dominie, ZK-BCP, at Whenuapai.

Charter flights began on the 13th of August 1958 and Coastal Airways regular air service commenced on the 1st of September 1958, the company offering Monday to Saturday flights between Auckland, Whangarei, Kaikohe and Kaitaia using De Havilland DH89B Dominies, ZK-ALB and ZK-BCP. The first aircraft flew a morning northbound service leaving Whenuapai for Kaitaia at 8 a.m. 15 minute stops were made at Whangarei and Kaikohe with the plane reaching Kaitaia at 10.10 a.m. After a 15 minute turn around at Kaitaia this aircraft returned via Kaikohe and Whangarei to reach Whenuapai at 12.25 pm. The second aircraft’s schedule saw it leave Kaitaia at 7.40 am and flying via Kaikohe and Whangarei to reach Whenuapai at 9.50 a.m. It returned in the afternoon leaving Whenuapai at 3.15 p.m. and arriving at Whangarei at 4.05 p.m., Kaikohe at 4.55 p.m. and Kaitaia at 5.35 p.m. The company’s plans to include Dargaville and Kerikeri to the service never came to fruition.

Northern News, 4 September 1958

The service was not well supported on the 27th of September 1958 the services were terminated. A statement made by Mr C J Rawnsley, a company director, said they “regret that circumstances have compelled them to suspend the service. It is hoped this will be only temporary, as negotiations are now in train for reorganisation and recapitalisation of the company. The inauguration of a new airline necessarily involves heavy expenditure, with adequate returns delayed for some months. At the moment we, frankly, have insufficient capital to continue, but the support we have received in the few weeks of the service have exceeded all reasonable expectations. Our operations have answered a real demand in the North. At the moment the company faces a crisis but interest in it has been expressed from several quarters. We have good reason to believe that sufficient new capital will be attracted to solve our immediate problems and provide a continuing service.” No such capital was forthcoming and the company went into receivership.


  1. Hello from Department of Civil Aviation, Sandakan City, Malaysia....good one and love the photos!!