23 October 2015

Air Chathams' Classic DC-3 Service

AIR Chathams is offering its Whakatane-Auckland passengers the opportunity to travel back in time to the romantic era of the Douglas DC-3. Beginning on Saturday, the airline is introducing a scheduled weekend flight aboard the classic warbird ZK-AWP. A unique flight experience is promised with staff dressed in “of the era” uniforms and a complimentary meal and beverage service, with a distinctly Eastern Bay flavour. A trial flight was organised last weekend to make sure everything was as it should be with the new service, which runs until March 20. “We got a lot of staff and some friends and put them on the aircraft and did the full service flight down to Whakatane and also used it as an opportunity to do some flight crew training,” operations manager Duane Emeny said. He said the company would create a new website over the next two months encompassing the Air Chathams service in the Chatham Island and Whakatane, so used the opportunity to do some promotional filming with Andy Galbraith from Bullseye Productions. They managed a lot of footage on the flight, took some drone footage when they arrived in Whakatane and hired a Cessna for some air-to-air footage of the restored DC-3. Air Chathams has recently cemented a relationship with White Island Tours, with both companies now promoting fly, stay and play packages with travel aboard the DC-3 and accommodation at White Island Tours. The two-night option includes a trip to White Island. However, Mr Emeny said the main reason for putting on the DC-3 flight was to plug the current gap in the weekend flight schedule. “The schedule had a bit of a service gap between midday Saturday and early afternoon Sunday. “There were no flights going into Whakatane after 9.30am on a Saturday and we were getting a bit of feedback from the travelling public about that so we thought we could do something a bit special and put the DC-3 on a scheduled run. “The primary objective was to make sure we serviced the area properly and people had options to fly in late on a Saturday,” he said. The DC-3 is a 28-seater compared with the 18-seater Metroliner. Air Chathams has spent the past month promoting the new DC-3 service around Auckland through media and Facebook. However, being a small airline with a corresponding marketing budget, Mr Emeny said he expected their greatest form of advertising would prove to be word of mouth. The unique flight experience will include air hostesses Conny Meier from Auckland and Celia Marr from Matata wearing old-style uniforms inspired by those in the 2002  Leonardo DiCaprio film Catch Me if You Can. “We were wanting something retro and someone was watching the movie and saw those,” he said. They have been locally-made by Whakatane dressmaker Natalie Wilmot, in keeping with Air Chathams determination to give back to the community. “We are really trying to push to make sure we have as much local as we can. “All the promotional flyers have been done in town by Mann Print, we used Natalie for the uniforms, we will be serving Mata beer and White Goose fruit wine and Andy Galbraith has done the filming. “It is all part of integrating into the community.”

No comments:

Post a Comment