14 October 2012

North South Aviation's Quikmail Air Freight Operation

Quikmail International Ltd was registered as a New Zealand independent courier and freight consolidation company on the 9th of November 1989. In 1993 the company established its own air freight operation. On the 30th of March 1993 Barry and David Walsh, principals of Quikmail International, established North South Aviation Limited. On the 5th of April 1993 an Embraer EMB-110P1 Bandeirante arrived in New Zealand and it was registered to Quikmail as ZK-KML (c/n 110248) on the 21st of April 1993 and to North South Aviation on the 27th of May 1993. KML was no stranger to New Zealand as it had previously been operated for Ansett’s Tranzair as ZK-REU from late 1990 to mid 1991.

KML was used to introduce a new night courier service incorporating Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Taupo began in May 1993. Initially the air freight operation was managed by Ardmore Flying School and operated under their licence. This meant that the Ardmore Flying School was effectively the operator who were also responsible for the crewing of the aircraft. Using experienced Bandeirante pilots, such as Chief pilot Steve Mosen who had previously been the training captain for Air Rarotonga, the air freight operation offered a career path for the instructors and new generation of pilots graduating from the Ardmore Flying School. North South Aviation gained their own licence and took over the managing of the operation from the Ardmore Flying School at the beginning of July 1993.

In cargo configuration, North South Aviation's Embraer Bandeirante ZK-KML at Auckland on 25 November 1993. It still carried the blue tail from when Tranzair used it.
NZ Herald 11 August 1993

 Quikmail International specialised in same-day urgent courier consign­ments and with the development of the freight airline the company was able to offer overnight freight and express work. This lessened their reliance on the major airlines to move their freight. The South Island Fastway Couriers franchise was a major contractor and each weekday evening ZK­-KML flew direct from Auckland to Christchurch, the hub of Fastway's operations. From their trucks carried the freight to other South Island destinations by morning. Fastway's North Island hub was at Turangi, so the return flight stopped at Taupo from where the freight was distributed by road. The Bandeirante then flew an early morning flight from Auckland to Wellington. In Wellington Rex Aviation was contracted to undertake the maintenance but the aircraft could also be used for charter work from Wellington. The return flight to Auckland Airport carried 6000 Evening Post newspapers as Wellington Newspapers moved into the market left empty by the demise of the Auckland Star. In terms of freight capacity the Bandeirante could carry 1400 to 1500 kg from Auckland to Christchurch, cruising at 195 kts. The cabin had canvas lining that clipped in around the curtain rails, over the carpet on the floor, and that could come out and enabling the reinstalling of the seats within a few minutes.
Later North South Aviation also leased Piper Chief­tain ZK-VIP to serve the scheduled newspaper and same-day freight run to Wel­lington. This allowed the Bandeirante to be used for daytime charter work. While the main focus was on carriage of freight the Bandeirante was also available for passenger charter work which was organised by Auckland’s Skycare owner Alan Tonkin.

In passenger configuration... the cabin lining out, the seats in. North South Aviation's Embraer Bandeirante ZK-KML at Dunedin on 17 July 1993. The Bandit came to Dunedin for the Bledisloe Cup match of that day at Carisbrook... final score, New Zealand 25 - Australia 10.
By March 1994 the North South Aviation flights also included Palmerston North. Despite good contract work the airline found itself in financial strive to the tune of some $ 390,000 and the operator placed itself in voluntary liquidation on the 27th of June 1994.


  1. "voluntary liquidation on the 27th of June 1990."

    Possibly an error in the year?