|North Shore Air founder and CEO, Peter Newman|
In September North Shore announced its intention to operate scheduled services from North Shore to both Tauranga and Kerikeri. In particular the airline is seeking to provide an alternative airline service for North Shore residents who have need to battle the inner city traffic getting to and from Auckland International Airport. The company's plans feature an early morning and late afternoon flight will be scheduled to Tauranga and back, with one mid-morning return flight to Kerikeri in between with the flight in both directions taking 40 minutes. The company also announced that it was an approved shuttle operator enabling it to use the northern busway ensuring quick access to and from the Auckland CBD during peak traffic.
|Daryl and Andrew in their office|
|North Shore Air's Piper Pa31 Navajo ZK-JGA taken at Tauranga on 28 September 2015 on the first day of scheduled services|
|Bypassing the Auckland traffic jam on the way back to North Shore|
More photos of the first day of services can be found here : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/09/wet-start-for-north-shore-air.html
The first North Shore to Kerikeri service was operated on the 4th of October 2015. The service was flown under the command of Chief Pilot Daryl Williamson in the company's Piper Navajo ZK-JGA. Mainland Air's 10-seat Piper Chieftain, ZK-VIP, was expected to join the fleet but it only ever flew one service for North Shore Air on the 6th of October 2015.
The timetable was changed on the 21st of October with the North Shore-Tauranga service reduced to operating four days a week on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays but with an improved timing of the afternoon flights for those who wanted to do a full day of business in Tauranga or Auckland. At the same time the Kerikeri service was reduced to three days a week on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays.
|The revised timetable effective 21 October 2015|
Over Labour weekend North Shore Air's website and Facebook page were taken down as was the signage at North Shore Airport. It was subsequently announced that the airline would cease its scheduled services on the 30th of October 2015 but that it could remain open for charter flights. In excellent coverage Peter Newman was reported on SunLive as saying, “Our scheduled flights never got the numbers required to break even, so basically it's all gone a bit pear shaped. But there's no easy way. It was either pull out while we could manage an exit, or wait until we hit the wall.” North Shore Air were hoping to see a minimum of three-to-four passengers on each eight-seater flight, but often took off with just single passengers on board. “It was a heavy hit, and we just don't have deep enough pockets to hang in there for much longer.” Peter admits there was also resistance to the $195 one way fare. “People expect the airfares of be $80-$95 at most. At $195, it was just way out of line. “I'd say 50 per cent didn't want to operate on that fare schedule. A few years ago the fares were more realistic, but just lately there's been an expectation for fares to be really low.”