28 October 2012

Flight Hauraki

Flight Hauraki Limited was established by Paul McSherry on the 17th of March 2008. Flight Hauraki was an associate company of MDR Aviation Ltd whose activities centred upon importing and leasing out aircraft and MDR Aviation Ltd was the actual owner of all the aircraft. Included amongst these imports were Cessna 152's, ZK-MDK, which was with Flight Training Manawatu for a couple of years and Paul McSherry’s favourite Cessna A152 Aerobat ZK-MDO with a full Sparrowhawk and tail wheel conversion which was with Ivan Krippner at Southern Lakes Learn to Fly, Wanaka.

In early 2010 Flight Hauraki established a charter and scenic flight service from North Shore Airport. The company established an office in Salt Air’s terminal at North Shore Airport and began operations with two Cessna 172 Superhawks, ZK-MDR (c/n 17268885) and ZK-MDV (c/n 17273249), and Cessna 207 ZK-MDZ (c/n 20700171) all of which were painted in Flight Hauraki colours. The two upgraded 'Superhawk' spec Cessna 172s have had Lycoming 0-360 engine upgrades from Air Plains, Kansas. This gives the aircraft enhanced strip and climb performance, much increased cruise speed and maximum useful loads of around 1000lbs each. ZK-MDR was on leased to Glenorchy Air until late 2012.

Before being leased to Glenorchy Air Cessna 172N Superhawk ZK-MDR at North Shore on 6 March 2010
In March 2012 Flight Hauraki took over management of Waiheke Island based Air Discovery's scenic flight business, including their transfer flights between Waiheke Island and Auckland International Airport and Great Barrier Island.

Cessna 172 ZK-MDV arrives in front of the North Shore Aero Club rooms prior to flying the afternoon service to Kerikeri on 31 December 2013

Further expansion came for the company on the 1st of November 2012 when the company took over Salt Air’s Kerikeri-Whangarei-North Shore air service. This service, established in May 2008, saw Salt Air aircraft flying twice daily return weekday services and a Sunday service from Kerikeri and Whangarei to North Shore with a shuttle bus taking passengers to and from the Auckland CBD via the Busway. This meant Whangarei passengers could get to the Auckland city centre in about an hour.

"North Shore Traffic, Mike Delta Zulu rolling 03" - Cessna ZK-MDZ at North Shore on 14 March 2012. Photo : S Lowe

The most significant change of Flight Hauraki the takeover was that the service became North Shore-based necessitating changes to the timetable with northbound flights leaving North Shore earlier and southbound flights from Kerikeri and Whangarei leaving later. The initial weekday timetable has flights departing from North Shore for Whangarei and Kerikeri at 7.00am and 4.45pm with the return flights leaving Kerikeri at 8.15am and 6.00pm and Whangarei at 8.45am and 6.30pm. 

North Shore - Whangarei - Kerikeri service, effective 1 November 2012

On the 16th of November 2012 the company introduced a second scheduled service. The new service operates on Mondays and Fridays with aircraft flying from North Shore to Waiheke Island and then on to Great Barrier Island with the aircraft leaving North Shore at 11.00 am and returning by 1.00 pm.

North Shore - Waiheke - Great Barrier timetable, effective 16 November 2012 
The twice weekly service to Waiheke and Great Barrier Island failed to generate much traffic and mention of the service was withdrawn from the company's website soon after its launch. The Kerikeri and Whangarei service also failed to generate sufficient patronage and this service was also withdrawn, the last flight being operated on the 12th of February 2013.

For a photo essay on a FlightHauraki service between North Shore and Whangarei see :

In October 2014 the company moved its main base at North Shore airport and satellite base on Waiheke Island to having their main base on Waiheke Island and satellite base at Ardmore where it uses Dennis Thompson International's premises.

In mid-December 2014 Flight Hauraki started an 'Island Hopper' service offering two return flights daily on the Ardmore-Waiheke-Great Barrier Island route using Claris airfield on Great Barrier Island and Okiwi on demand. The company also does many Ardmore-Waiheke hops every day with aircraft based at each location. Auckland Airport remains a semi-popular connection through Waiheke hotels on a charter basis working through SkyCare. The company was using Cessna 172 ZK-MDV, Cessna 206 ZK-JCB and Cessna 207 ZK-MDZ at this time and flights operated until Easter 2015.

Cessna 206 ZK-JCB and Cessna 172 ZK-MDV at Waiheke Island

From Labour weekend 2015 the airline again offered flights from Waiheke Island to Great Barrier Island as well as shuttle flights to Auckland International Airport. In November 2015 Paul McSherry sold his shareholding in the company to the New Zealand Aviation Group Ltd. This company has set to developing the charter market especially with inbound Chinese tourists.

In 2016 two additional aircraft were added to the fleet, Piper PA28-181 Archer ZK-EBX (c/n 28-7790242) and Piper PA31-310 Navajo ZK-JGA (c/n 31-7612102). By March 2017 the Archer and the Cessna 207 ZK-MDZ were offered for sale.

Piper PA28 Archer ZK-EBX for sale in FlightHauraki. Photo taken at Ardmore on 10 March 2017

Piper PA31 Navajo ZK-JGA in FlightHauraki markings at Ardmore on 24 March 2017

Over the 2016/17 summer FlightHauraki continued to offer on-demand scheduled services from Ardmore to Waiheke and Great Barrier Islands as well as between Waiheke and Great Barrier Islands.

FlightHauraki's timetables for the 2016/17 summer

FlightHauraki's Cessna 172 ZK-MDV and Cessna 207 off on a charter from Ardmore on 7 January 2017

On the 25th of May 2017 Flight Hauraki Ltd became Air Auckland Ltd but the company continued to operate as FlightHauraki until May 2018 when it was rebranded as Air Auckland. About this time the air service to Waiheke Island ceased.

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