16 August 2015

Barrier Air - The new name to the Barrier and Kaitaia


Updated JANUARY 2018

On the 22nd of September 2014 Graham Reynolds formed a new company, Great Barrier Airlines Ltd, to take over Great Barrier Airlines Flight Operations Ltd which had operated on the Great Barrier Island route since 1983. The company continued to operate as Great Barrier Airlines and operate its regular services from both Auckland and North Shore to Great Barrier Island.

In late 2014 Air New Zealand announced it withdraw its Auckland to Kaitaia service. After entering into an agreement with Far North Holdings which operates Kaitaia airport Great Barrier Airlines announced in February 2015 that it would offer services to Kaitaia from 28 April 2015 with three daily flights each way on weekdays using a 12-seater Cessna 208B Grand Caravan with two flights a day on Saturdays and Sundays. Great Barrier Airlines' General Manager Murray Pope said the new service would bring many benefits for Far North residents. “Our schedules mean that business people will be able to undertake a full day’s business in Auckland before flying home in the evening. They will also be able to transfer to and from Wellington services.” 

Great Barrier Airlines first service from Kaitaia to Auckland took off from Kaitaia at 2.15pm on Wednesday 29 April with the flight, GBA616, being flown by Embraer EMB-820C ZK-RDT. The first inbound flight to Kaitaia, GBA619, was again flown in Embraer EMB-820C ZK-RDT. One of these wrote on her Facebook page, Today was the first day that the new Great Barrier Airlines service between Kaitaia and Auckland operated and I really enjoyed being on the last flight in tonight. The WAKARERE was a 9 seater with 2 pilots and 4 passengers. Lovely takeoff, flight and landing. Bit bumpy coming in to KAITAIA but way quieter than the Air NZ flights used to be. Tenei taku whakatauki mo tena - Climb high, climb far. Your goal the sky, your aim the star. As well as using the Embraer 820C on the Kaitaia service Great Barrier Airlines have also used Mainland Air's Piper PA31 Chieftain ZK-VIP and for a short time air2there's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-MYH. 

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-MYH which serviced the Kaitaia route for a short time. Photo taken at Auckland on 5 May 2015

On the 13th of July 2015 BN Islander ZK-FVD, Partenavia ZK-PLA and Embraer 820C ZK-RDT were registered to the new Great Barrier Airlines Ltd. A couple of days later on the 15th of July 2015 Great Barrier Airlines was renamed as Barrier Air. A tangible sign of the new company was the addition of Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDB to the fleet. The Caravan entered into service for the first time on the 11th of August 2015 flying from Auckland to Kaitaia and return. It flew to Great Barrier Island the following day.

Barrier Air's flagship, Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDB at Auckland on 29 September 2015
Also carrying Barrier Air titles is Britten Norman Island. Photo taken at Auckland on 26 October 2015

The Kaitaia schedule was changed from the 17th of August 2015 with two flights being offered each way between Auckland and Kaitaia on weekdays and one flight each way on Saturdays and Sundays.

From November 2015 Barrier Air changed their Kaitaia timetable to better suit business traffic. The afternoon flights from this time were rescheduled to depart Kaitaia at 4.00pm instead of 2.00pm.

Embraer 820C ZK-RDT at Auckland on 19 December 2015
Piper PA31-Chieftain ZK-VIP at Auckland on 30 November 2015

In December 2015 Barrier Air a Whangarei to Auckland service on Friday evenings with a return Auckland to Whangarei service on Sunday evenings. During the summer holidays return Auckland-Whangarei services were being offered on both Friday and Sunday evenings. Barrier Air also introduced a scheduled shuttle between Great Barrier Claris and Okiwi on Fridays and Sundays to connect Okiwi to Auckland and North Shore services. Piper Chieftain ZK-FOP was added to the fleet in December 2015 and it began flying for the company on the 27th of December 2015 when it operated the Kaitaia services.

Barrier Air's Partenavia P68 ZK-PLA at Auckland on 30 December 2015.

For a pictorial post on Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravan operations see :

February 2016 saw further expansion. On the 4th of February 2016 Barrier Air commenced a twice weekday city hopper between Auckland International Airport and North Shore Airport allowing passengers to and from the North Shore a quick flight over Auckland's traffic congestion. The first flight, GB310, was operated by Embraer 820 ZK-RDT. Flights operate on demand.

Then, on the 13th of February 2016, Barrier Air introduced flights between Hamilton and Auckland replacing the Air New Zealand service which had ended the day before. The first flight from Auckland, GB55, was operated by Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDB under the command of Travis McKee. The flights will usually operate with two pilots and 11 flights are being offered each week.

Announcing the arrival of Barrier Air flight 55 from Auckland 
Leading the way across the tarmac, Nick Pearson, Barrier Air's Logistics Manager (left) talks to the company's Chief Executive Mike Foster.
The schedule see flights offered each week as follows

Days              From   To        Dep    Arr
12345            HLZ-AKL       0700   0730
1  3  567        AKL-HLZ       1030   1100
1  3  567        HLZ-AKL       1130   1200
12345 7         AKL-HLZ       1800   1830
         5            HLZ-AKL       1850   1920

The mid-morning flights are timed to connect to Kiwi Regional flights to Nelson and Dunedin.

By the beginning of April 2016 the Hamilton schedule was reduced to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with flights leaving Auckland at 10.30am to arrive at Hamilton at 11.00am and leaving Hamilton at 12.00noon to arrive at Auckland at 12.30pm. The Okiwi-Claris and  Auckland-North Shore flights were also withdrawn.

Barrier Air added Piper PA31 Chieftain ZK-FOP to its fleet in December 2015. It is seen here arriving at Hamilton on 7 March 2016

On 2 May 2016 Barrier Air commenced weekday Auckland-Whangarei flights with Piper Chieftain ZK-VIP operating the first service. Flights leave Auckland at 7.00am to arrive at Whangarei at 7.30am and Whangarei at 5.30pm to arrive at Auckland at 6.00pm. Between these flights the aircraft operates the doctors flight between Whangarei and Kaitaia. Passengers can book flights between Auckland and Kaitaia subject to seats being available.

In August 2016 Barrier Air withdrew all three Piper Chieftains from its fleet. At the same time the Doctors flights between Whangarei and Kaitaia ended as well as the Auckland to Whangarei scheduled service. Flights between North Shore and Great Barrier Island were also reduced and these flights were usually operated by the BN Islander or Partenavia. 

In October 2017 the Partenavia was also withdrawn from the fleet, while in January 2018 a second Cessna Grand Caravan, ZK-SDC was added to the fleet.

Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDC at Auckland on 27 January 2018


  1. Its a shame they have cut back on a lot of flights as they were covering a lot of ports. Who took over the Doctors flights was it Sunair?