24 August 2014

Oamaru Service Ends

Mainland Air operated its last Oamaru-Christchurch-Oamaru service today as Waitaki 1 northbound and Waitaki 2 southbound.

Mainland Air's service began on the 4th of June 2014 with the inaugural flight with three passengers being flown under the command of Sven Thelning and Phil Kean in Mainland Air's Piper Pa31-350 Navajo Chieftain ZK-KVW. Two return flights were offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and late afternoons as well as a return Sunday afternoon service.

Mainland Air's inaugural flight arrives at Christchurch on 4 June 2014

Subsequent flights were operated by Mainland Air's Piper Senecas, however, by the 20th of June the company was acknowledging that the service had been slow to take off. One Oamaru businessman suggested the company fly direct to Wellington but that would have required a faster and bigger aeroplane for the longer flight.

On the 28th of July the company announced the Sunday and Monday flights would end, though the company would honour any bookings made. Phil Kean, Mainland Air's Managing Director, told the Otago Daily Times the plane was often occupied by only one or two people on the way to Christchurch and there was no guarantee it would return with any passengers. “The number of passengers is largely hit-and-miss; we go up with one or two, then often down with no one and that can’t continue.”

With passenger numbers failing to build the company ended its service, the final flight being operated by Piper Seneca ZK-LSP on 24 August 2014 under the command of Jordan Kean and Dan Veale. The Seneca then positioned home to Dunedin. Sven Thelning, Mainland Air's Oamaru pilot has taken up a job in dairy farming.

Seneca ZK-LSP, the aircraft that flew Mainland Air's final service to Oamaru today. Photo taken at Dunedin on 18 December 2013.

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