17 June 2012

Chatham Airlink


On the 17th of February 1996 Air Chathams was grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the weeks that followed Air Chathams chartered Airwork NZ Ltd to operate an interim air service to the Chathams with their Fairchild Metroliners ZK-NSS and ZK-POA.

The following year Airwork returned to the Chathams in the form of Chatham Airlink, a joint venture between Airwork NZ Ltd and Chatham Islands Seafoods Ltd. Chatham Airlink began running scheduled services between the Chatham Islands and Wellington on the 9th of October 1997 using Airwork’s Fairchild Metroliner ZK-NSS.

Chatham Airlink’s Metroliner ZK-NSS at the Chathams' Karewa Airport on its first scheduled flight on Thursday 9 October 1997. To the left is Port Hutt Air's Beech Queenair ZK-PHA. 
Source : The Chatham Islander 2 December 1997.

Two flights were offered each week on Mondays and Thursdays. The Chatham-bound flight left Wellington at 9.15 am, the return flight left the Chathams at 12.30 pm. A departure lounge was established at the Airwork Hangar at Wellington and all flights carried passengers and cargo.

Fairchild Metroliner ZK-NSS that flew the Chatham Airlink service at Auckland on 29 November 1996.

The May 1998 issue of the Chatham Islander announced the airline had changed to a winter schedule, “operating on demand. The company’s Wellington manager Toby Clark indicated that support from Chatham Islanders was not as great as hoped for, but they are still in there to provide a freight and passenger service. If the Islanders make use of it, they will keep going. He advises that they expect to make occasional flights through the winter, and to revert to a summer schedule in about three months.”

This did not happen, however, and the service eventually petered out in 1998.

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