14 March 2015

Islander ZK-LYP

Air Chathams Britten Norman BN2A-27 Islander ZK-LYP has been pretty much static at Auckland International since returning to NZ from Tonga just over a year ago. The aircraft had initially been flown by Great Barrier Airlines before moving to Air Chathams in 2008 when it was flown from Auckland to Tonga on 13 May that year and entered service with Chathams Pacific. It was re-registered A3-LYP in December 2009 to comply with Tongan CAA requirements however returned to its ZK markings in in November 2013 as the aviation scene in the Friendly Isles saw Chathams Pacific withdraw from the region. The Islander ferried from Tonga to Auckland on 05 March 2014 and then made its way to the Chatham Islands two days later where it was utlised occasionally on runs to Pitt Island. It then flew back to Auckland from the Chathams on 23 August 2014. Earlier this week it was spotted across at Ardmore receiving attention from a local avionics workshop and is seen below departing for Auckland International 13 March 2015. One of the comments from our previous post indicates it may have been pressed into service with previous operator Great Barrier Airlines to fill a gap left by the temporary grounding of their PA31 fleet.


  1. Regional New Zealand has had a total of nine cities that has seen jets at their respective airports, six had scheduled jet operations in the past along with Palmerston North with its former international service with Freedom air and Tauranga and Gisborne which have both seen a 737-200 from Air NZ on various charter flight's.
    Only two of these airports (Rotorua will have its international service terminated in April) remain serviced with jet operations, with the current Queenstown and Dunedin A320 service.
    Invercargill, one of the first regional airports to get jet aircraft, had NAC/Air NZ 737-200 operations till the mid 90s, Hamilton with its 8pm 737-200 arrival from Wellington until Air NZ retired the 737-200, Rotorua with the three flights a day at one stage from Christchurch with an afternoon departure to Auckland with the 737-200/BAe146 from the late 80s through to the 90s and early 00's which then went to a two flights a day from Qantas and Air NZ's 737-300 to the soon to be ended A320 Sydney flights and even Napier had 737-200 flights during the 80's and early 90s..
    Which one of these cities (some with a combined area population over 100,000) would be the first to have jet operations reinstated in the future...? And how far off would the likes of New Plymouth with its booming airport and Tauranga "NZ's newest city 120,000" be in regards to getting a jet service one day..?

    1. Interesting look back at history.

      Taking a 2015 approach to the idea.

      Ar NZs future domestic fleet will be 50, 68 and 170+ seats per flight.

      Re-introducing jet services regional destinations will result in REDUCED frequencies as a result of up-guaging to aircraft well outside of realistic area demand. 50 seat to a 170 seat.

      Avsec Aviation Security is required for all operations exceeding 90 seats, this will require significant modification to current departure lounge areas and space for the screening of passengers to take place. This will increase the processing times and reduce ease of regional travel. These additional costs may be passed on through airfare increases, offsetting any true savings made by using larger jets over props.

      Significant upgrading of terminal buildings to accommodate for upto 170 people coming off and 170 people going on, in addition to other frequencies around the same time. Everyone will be checking in at the same time, enlarged check in areas will be required. Then due to less frequencies these large areas will then sit empty during the off peak hours. The same would go for the koru lounge.

      Baggage handing will take longer, meaning more time for passengers waiting after arrival. 50 bags versus upto 170 bags off an A320 which need to be unloaded from containers. This will require significant upgrades of pickup/drop off zones, larger baggage reclaim areas.

      Boarding/disembarking times will be increased when compared to smaller turboprop. This will especially annoy business travellers, where their stay in the region is very short.

      Upgrade requirements of airport perimeters, fencing etc due to jet operation of more than 90 seats.

      All these costs will be passed on either through air fare rises, departure tax levies, ratepayers or a combination of all 3 options.

      More than anything, the frequencies would drop and that is severely negative to these regional areas. It'll be another 10 years before jets should be looked at realistically. In the mean time Air NZ has spent more than $300 million growing the ATR fleet to 24 and retaining/upgrading the existing 23 Q300s.

      These additional frequencies/up-guages, puts regional NZ well out in front as one of the best served domestic networks in the world. Jets would be nice, but are certainly not necessary.

    2. Nelson used to have BAe-146 services from Ansett and I think the occasional NZ 737-200 service where necessary. Air NZ will be doing great with an ATR/Dash 8/A320 fleet although having a 100-100 seater jet would be cool as well, although there wouldn't need to be as many A320's/ATR's in the fleet. I suspect Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Nelson and Invercargill will go all ATR within the next two years.

    3. Nelson used to see the occasional BAe146 charters using Ansett NZ aircraft. There was a short period where Ansett used them commercially due to a delay in a Dash 8 being delivered.. The most recent 146 operating into and out of Nelson was the Vincent/Air National 200 machine operating on charters for the Hobbit movie.

      The Boeing 737-200 came to NSN, empty both in and out on one occasion in the early 90's to be part of Nelsons 150th anniversary, an air show was held.

      Correct, the above mentioned cities will see more up-guaging, freeing up the Q300s for Timaru, Hokitika, Blenheim, Gisborne, Bay of Islands, Taupo, etc etc.
      However, there will never be an ALL ATR schedule to any regional port in the near future, weekends, some weekday off peak and off seasons, see demand fall sharply to those ports.
      Nelson will always remain busy with Q300 flights, it is the engineering hub for both regional types.
      NSN-WLG is a high frequency Q300 business route with upto 12 sectors each way per day.

    4. Very interesting points esp inregards to security upgrades to airports with more than 90 seats....
      Both Rotorua,Hamilton and Invercagill "would have those security upgrades...?
      If you guys had a lazy tenner... what would your bet be on those airports that had jet services to get them reinstated or what would be the first airport out of those "growing centers" that have never seen jet services yet... New Plymouth, Tauranga or Palmerston North?

      Guess back then. 737-200 and 146 where 90-100 seats which is only around 40-50 seats more than the Q300 and ATR72, the 737-300 where another 30 seats more than the 737-200 but.... the Airbus A320 at 170 seats... That is a huge leap in seating capacity... Would it be such a task to fill a A320 from the likes of Tauranga and Hamilton (120,000-200,000) to fill or... make a profit from operating these aircraft..?? Business early morning flight mixed in with prices starting from some cheap grabaseat $49 tickets upwards, it wouldn't take much to fill one of these... would it...???