19 June 2016

A Comment on Friday's Regional Airline News

Friday was a big day news for regional air services. First off the rank was the news that Air Chathams had bought Kiwi Regional Airlines certainly surprised me. The news had two dimensions - Kiwi Regional ceasing operations wasn't particularly surprising. The purchase of the Saab was! All this stole the thunder for Sounds Air's news that it was taking over Air New Zealand's Blenheim-Christchurch service.

So what does this all mean?

Kiwi Regional made a brave attempt to operate but I always thought they were like SPANZ of the 1960s. The routes were always going to be lean and it was always going to be a real challenge to fill the seats. In my opinion Nelson would have been a better base than Dunedin offering the flexibility to offer services to a number of large regional centres on one or two days a week. Anway, that is all by the by now. Well done to Ewan and his crew for giving it a go. 
My flight on Kiwi Regional: 

Congratulations to Craig, Duane and crew for taking this opportunity, The purchase of the Saab shows an early commitment to Whanganui/Wanganui... the same community commitment that Air Chathams has given to the Chathams and Whakatane. The move to take over Air New Zealand's service to the River City cements Air Chathams as a solid regional airline in New Zealand. With 2 Metroliners, a Saab and 3 Convairs in the fleet the airline will be able to give a flexible air service to Whakatane and Wanganui. One wonders what the second Metroliner, ZK-CID, will be used for... a spare or new routes??? Also, looking to the future, one wonders if the Air Chathams brand is the right brand for an increasingly regional airline.
My flights on Air Chathams:

Congratulations also go to Andrew and the Sounds Air crew for picking up the Blenheim-Christchurch service. Again this new route solidifies Sounds Air as an important regional airline. Andrew Crawford has said the airline is looking at any further routes but with a solid reputation as a good operator with high customer satisfaction and a network extending from Christchurch to Taupo and Westport to Napier it has come a long way from its sky ferry origins between Picton and Wellington.
My flights on Sounds Air:

The only news we didn't hear on Friday is when Originair expects to start operating again. I think Originair is  wise to keep out of Wellington. There is too much competition on the the Nelson-Wellington run. The withdrawal of Kiwi Regional who has built up services from Nelson to Hamilton and Tauranga gives Originair an opportunity to become a viable airline once all the paper work has been done. I do hope, however, they get their timetable right. The Air New Zealand Nelson-Palmerston North service operated at peak time for business traffic and from what I gleaned did really well. Originair would do well to replicate it with a better business schedule than they previously operated. Then their could be services to Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier or New Plymouth in the middle of the day. I look forward to Robert and his team getting Originair airborne again. 
My flight on Originair:


  1. Origin put a post on their facebook page after the news about Kiwi's demise that they planning on staying around and are here for the long haul. Which is good to hear 😊.

    1. No post on there at all

    2. Yes it still there in a dialogue of comments only 2 days ago

    3. Nope. The last post on Origin's Facebook page was when they shared Palmerston North Airports Photo

    4. Need to look at the comment section on the left

  2. sounds air plz is in queensland flinders to get the repaint

  3. I have been thinking about New Zealand regional air network and looked at the old SPANZ route network and I think there is room for an 'SPANZ' type of regional network for 2nd level carriers now. SPANZ failed as New Zealand's population in the 1960's was approximately 2.2 million, coupled with government policy in regards to air licencing at the time and high air airfares in proportion to the wages of the time.

    What SPANZ did in the 1960's was to have an alternative main trunk regional network to NAC, that allowed 3rd level carriers to link into, hence my earlier posts on a regional carrier alliance for 2nd/3rd level carriers.

    Air NZ of 2-3 years ago is not the Air NZ now, in regards to regional air services. Air NZ has streamlined in regional services to cater for population catchments that are 40,000 or more using aircraft that meets a full airline service and abandoning those services who are have 40,000 or less people and uneconomic services that can't meet the requirements for a 50 seater plus aircraft, with the exception of the West Coast. As I have mentioned in the past, OAM will be deleted from Air NZ regional network possibility within 12 months.

    By streaming their regional services, Air NZ has opened up, after 50 odd years, the possibility of developing a 2nd level regional air network for those carriers who have the aircraft type and vision to make it happen.

    CV (Air Chathams) is appearing to become a true 2nd level air carriers with 2 x 50 seater Convairs (excluding the all freight Convair), 2 x 19 seater Metroliners and shortly a 34 seater Saab. CV has been around for 30 years and its success has been in the CHT/CHC/WLG/AKL traffic, so now it is in the position to strengthen its position on New Zealand's main regional routes. If CV can lease or buy another Saab340, there is no reason why CV in association with Soundsair and Barrier Air, Originair and other 3rd level carriers to have national regional air networks that compliments Air NZ.

    By having a 2nd Saab, CV can operated AKL/WHK, AKL/WAG/WLG and possibility reintroducing HLZ/NSN/DUD and TRG/NSN/DUD routes using the Saabs, backed up with the Metroliners, leaving the 2 passenger Convairs operating the AKL/WLG/CHC to CHT services, could have the the foundation to build New Zealand 2nd level regional air network, with Soundsair, Barrier Air, Originair, possibility Sunair and any other 3rd level air carrier adding to or linking into the network.

    Soundsair will operates on those routes that have passenger loadings for 5 to 14 seats on WLG to NSN/BHE/PCN/TUO/NPE/WSZ and the new BHE/CHC service plus services to and from PPQ.

    Barrier Air will keep to its AKL to HLZ/WRE/KAT and AKL/GBZ services using a 5 to 14 seater aircraft.

    Originair, I think think they should work with CV in providing direct services like NSN/PMR, NSN/NPL, NSN/WAG and NSN/NPE with its 2 J31's.

    None of the above service are in direct competition to Air NZ.

    With regards to KRA, I believe, if KRA had stuck to its HLZ/NSN/DUD services without the DUD/ZQN and TRG/NSN/DUD addons from the start, it might be still around now. To add TRG/NSN/DUD services, they would needed to have need to have 2 aircraft to operate reliable services.

    Since this is new territory and to get the traveling public who have been use to full service regional air services through NAC/Air NZ over the years, CV, Soundair, Barrier Air, lessor extend Sunair and other 3rd level carriers, need to operate under a marketing alliance brand something like – Aotearoa Regional Airlines, to inform the traveling public there are air carriers who can offer semi and full service regional air traffic to and from their regions.

    With regards to posts about interlining with Air NZ, the only carrier that could pull off an interline agreement would be CV, as it has a good relationship with Air NZ.

  4. I'm wondering how far away the life expectancy of Air Chats' CVs are.
    There are a lot of cheap jets in the rugged Avro146/AN158 class out there.

  5. Kris - good summary one thing is that OAM (Oamaru) was already terminated a few years ago apart from that your ideas are close to the mark. They should all try and get together to save on running costs.

    1. Sorry Jarden, I meant TIM (Timaru). Navcom was down so I was a bit geographically disorientated when I wrote the comment

    2. Slight correction:
      TIU = Timaru
      TIM = Timika, Indonesia