11 October 2015

Takaka Valley Air Services... Makes Travelling More Fun

Takaka Valley Air Services was formed in response to a growing need to provide a direct air service between Wellington and the Golden Bay. Scheduled services commenced on the 19th of November 1993 with thrice weekly flights offered between Takaka and Nelson and Takaka and Wellington using a Piper PA23 Aztec E, ZK-FHO. The first flight was flown by Stuart Rae and a small unofficial air mail was carried in each direction between Takaka and Wellington.

The company was officially registered on the 24th of February 1994 with Alan Russell, Andrew Simpson, Gavin Petterson and Ian Orange and Jane Lovell as the company directors 

Flights operated on Fridays and Sundays and from the 12th of October 1994 on Wednesdays. For the weekend flights the aircraft left Nelson in the late afternoon, where the aircraft was based, and fly to Takaka before doing a return flight to Wellington. The plane would then operate a scheduled flight back to Nelson. On Wednesdays the plane would leave Nelson for Takaka at 8.30am and then leave for Wellington at 9.00am. The return flight left Wellington at 4.00pm allowing a day’s business in Wellington for Golden Bay passengers.

Piper Aztec ZK-FHO at Nelson on 7 February 1996
Timetable, October 1994

In addition to the scheduled service to Wellington the company also provided an air taxi service to Karamea in support of trampers on the Heaphy Track and Abel Tasman National Park.

By October 1996 the Nelson to Takaka flights were dropped and the Aztec was based at Wellington. Four and later three flights were scheduled each on the Wellington to Takaka route.

Takaka Valley Air Service's Piper Pa23 Aztec ZK-FHO at Takaka on 6 January 1998

Following the closure of Motueka’s Associated Airlines Takaka Valley Air Services picked up their Motueka-Wellington service. From the 2nd of March 1998 the company began operating a four-day-a-week between the two centres on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with extra flights during public holiday periods and on demand. At that time Takaka Valley Air Services were flying between Takaka and Wellington on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays with extra flights on demand. The new flights necessitated additional Piper Aztec capacity and Piper Aztecs ZK-DGS and ZK-JEI were leased to provide this.

Timetable effective March 1998
Piper Aztec ZK-DGS on a Takaka Valley Air Services flight at Wellington on 10 April 1999

From the 1st of December 1998 Takaka Valley Air Services offered 5 flights a week to Wellington from both Takaka and Motueka. These saw the Aztec based at Wellington and normally one flight a day was offered. On Mondays, Fridays and Sundays the flight called at both Takaka and Motueka while on Wednesdays and Thursdays a dedicated flight was offered to both centres as well as on Fridays in addition to the afternoon flight which called into both centres.

Timetable effective 1 December 1998

From October 1999 Vincent Aviation took over operating the Wellington-Takaka route on behalf of Takaka Valley Air Services. Three flights a week were scheduled, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and these flights would pick up and drop off passengers at Motueka when a minimum of two passengers were travelling. Dedicated flights from Motueka were operated on demand when there were a minimum of four passengers. Additional daily flights were offered if there was sufficient demand.

A Takaka Valley Air Services' escape makes travelling more fun.

In early April 2000 Takaka Valley Air Services made the decision to cease operations. Managing director Jane Lovell told the Motueka-Golden Bay News that “the operation had been viable but it was hard going because of competition out of Nelson. The company's decision not to continue was based on personal decisions. When we set it up we thought five years would probably be enough. Basically, we have had enough." Vincent Aviation took over the flights between Takaka and Wellington from the 7th of April 2000.

No comments:

Post a Comment