31 December 2015

2015 - The NZ domestic airline scene in review

2015 has to be the year of recent times for the emergence and expansion of domestic air services. Key to from a regional point of view this was Air New Zealand's withdrawal from Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport and other provincial services. This saw expansion for Great Barrier Airlines (that later rebranded itself as Barrier Air), Air Chathams and Sounds Air. 2015 also the emergence of new airlines - Originair, Kiwi Regional Airlines and the short lived North Shore Air. Then the final chapter of the year was Jetstar's entry to the regional market. But there were other events in the year as well, perhaps the most significant was the cessation of the Boeing 737 from service with Air New Zealand.

The following is a review of the highlights of 2015...

30 January 2015
Sounds Air commences new Blenheim - Paraparaumu service
Sounds Air's Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SAW at Paraparaumu on the first day of operations on 30 January 2015

28 April 2015 
Air New Zealand withdraws from Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport
Beech 1900 ZK-EAN departs Westport operating the last Air New Zealand flight on 28 April 2015

28 April 2015 
Sounds Air commences Wellington - Westport service using Pilatus PC12s
Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 at Westport on the first day of operations, 28 April 2015

28 April 2015
Air Chathams commences Whakatane-Auckland service using a Fairchild Metroliner and occasionally Convair 580s
Air Chathams' Metroliner ZK-CIC arriving at Whakatane on 28 December 2015

29 April 2015 
Great Barrier Airlines commences Kaitaia-Auckland service using Piper Chieftains.
Embraer 820 ZK-RDT operated the first service to Kaitaia. It is seen here departing Auckland on 19 December 2015

4 May 2015
Sunair offers twice weekly service from Great Barrier Island to both Hamilton and Whangarei. Whakatane included as destination on flights to and from Gisborne and Napier. 
Sunair Aztec ZK-ERM at Whakatane on 6 November 2015

15 May 2015 
Sounds Air withdraws from Wanganui-Wellington route
Sounds Air's Cessna 208 Grand Caravan ZK-SAY arrives at Wanganui on 22 October 2014

22 May 2015
The last of New Zealand's bank data courier flight was flown... Previously Air Napier flew bank data between Gisborne and Napier and Sunair flew it from Napier to Hamilton. This freight is now carried on Air New Zealand flights. 
The bank data courier flight being loaded at Napier on 23 November 2011

2 June 2015 
Sounds Air commences Taupo- Wellington flights using Pilatus PC12s
Sounds Air's first departure from Taupo to Wellington on 2 June 2015. Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLZ.

16 June 2015 
Sounds Air commences Paraparaumu-Nelson flights using Cessna Caravans
Sounds Air's Cessna Caravan ZK-SAN at Nelson on 18 November 2015

14 July 2015
Great Barrier Airlines changes its name to Barrier Air as its Cessna Grand Caravan arrives

11 August 2015
Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravan enters service for their flights to Kaitaia and Great Barrier Island
Barrier Air's Cessna 208 Grand Caravan departs Auckland for Great Barrier Island on 29 September 2015 

12 August 2015
Originair commences operations flying Nelson to Palmerston North

13 September 2015
Originair commences services between Nelson and Wellington
Originair BAe Jetstream ZK-JSH arrives into Wellington on 18 November 2015

21 September 2015
The Boeing 737 departs from the Air New Zealand fleet... ZK-NGI departing Auckland on 21 September 2015 operating a positioning flight, NZ1737, to Christchurch bringing an end the national carriers long history of operating Boeing 737s on domestic services.

28 September 2015
North Shore Air commencing services between North Shore and Tauranga
A damp day made even damper with the water canon salute greets North Shore Air's Piper Navajo into Tauranga on 28 September 2015

4 October 2015
North Shore Air commence flights between North Shore and Kerikeri

5 October 2015
Sunair withdraws from Napier. Napier had been Sunair's first destination. The Whangarei-Great Barrier Island flights offered in May 2015 were also withdrawn
Sunair's Piper Aztec ZK-EVP at Napier on 15 April 2009

24 October 2015
Air Chathams add a weekly DC-3 summer service between Auckland and Whakatane
Air Chathams' Douglas DC-3 ZK-AWP at Whakatane on 8 November 2015

27 October 2015
Kiwi Regional Airlines begins Dunedin-Queenstown services. The same day the airline announces a reduction of frequency on this route from 14 flights per week to two. Four times a week Dunedin-Nelson-Hamilton services began on 28 October 2015.
Kiwi Regional's Saab 340 touches down at Hamilton on its inaugural service to the Waikato on 28 October 2015

29 October 2015
Jetstar introduces Wellington-Dunedin flights
Jetstar Airbus 320 VH-VQB at Dunedin on 18 December 2013

30 October 2015
North Shore Air ceases all operations
North Shore Air's Piper Navajo at Tauranga on the the first day of services on 28 September 2015 

5 November 2015
Sounds Air commences Blenheim-Napier service

30 November 2015
Kiwi Regional withdraws from Queenstown

1 December 2015
Jetstar commences Auckland-Napier and Auckland-Nelson regional services using Bombardier Q300s
Jetstar Bombardier Q300 VH-TQL on the taxi on Auckland before departing for Nelson on 19 December 2015

December 2015
Barrier Air commences a weekly Whangarei-Auckland service and a twice weekly Claris-Okiwi shuttle service
Barrier Air's Partenavia ZK-PLA at Auckland on 30 December 2015

15 December 2015
Airwork introduces Boeing 737-400 ZK-PAK to its fleet. This is the first of three Boeing 737-400 freighter aircraft which will be used by a Joint Venture company formed by Fieldair Holdings and Airwork Holdings that will replace the airfreight service currently performed by Air Freight NZ's Convairs Airwork's Friendships.
Boeing 737-400 arriving into Christchurch on its first flight. 

I hope you've enjoyed 3rd Level New Zealand this year.

A BIG THANKS to all those who have sent through photos and alerted me to local news in your area. It is getting harder to find what is happening regionally so I have really appreciated tip offs on recent news.  

THANKS also those who have added interest to the site with your comments and those who have sent through corrections to counter my poor proof reading. 

Also a HUGE THANKS for the airlines who have sent me press releases and news with what's happening with your company. I hope you've got a few new punters from what I have posted!  

THANKS also to all those who follow the blog and have sent emails of appreciation.

I hope you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR and all the best for 2016

30 December 2015

Beautiful New Zealand (3)

Volcanic Air's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-IAB taken on 28 December 2015

Over the Top Helicopters' Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-IKJ on approach for its Moon landing on 28 December 2015

It was followed by Volcanic Air's Bell Jetranger ZK-IVA... at quite a distance so lots of heat haze

And of course the photos were taken on White Island
Looking towards the steaming crater
The remains of the wharf and factory
Heading the crate
while our boat lies at anchor
White Island heliport

Looking to Mt Gisborne, the highest point on White Island

The crater edge was shrouded in steam... and below a glimpse into the crater
Add caption

A happily boiling mud pool

The remains of the factory that produced sulphur 1923-33

The largest gannet colony 

One of the smaller colonies...
Te Paepae o Aotea (Volkner Rocks) The smallest of the Volkner rocks was formerly used as a bombing target by the Royal New Zealand Air Force. 
Farewell White Island
Coming home a HUGE pod of dolphins... they were everyone