19 August 2016

Boeing 737 for Air Chathams?



This audio clip has a fuller interview than what is pasted below with Duane Emeny talking about the possibility of a Boeing 737 service to the Chatham Islands

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=201812471

The islands are New Zealand's most eastern point and lie about 700km southeast of the mainland. Council chief executive Owen Pickles said the fully government funded upgrade to Waitangi port was expected to be finished late next year. "What's involved is replacing the traditional wharf structure with a reclamation protected by a substantial breakwater which will then enable the Waitangi port to become an all-weather port. "One of the weaknesses of the old port has been that you'd lose 70 to 80 days each year because of tide and weather conditions," Mr Pickles said. He said the Islands' next transport challenge was to improve the airport. Air Chathams has said it will start a Boeing 737 service if residents and the government will fund an upgrade to the airport's runway. Air Chathams general manager Duane Emery Emery said the government had been given a draft feasibility study that put the cost of improving the runway at about $35 million. He said the Chathams' 600 residents were regular travellers, and there were growing visitor and freight markets. The Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust is helping to drive both the port and the runway projects. Chief executive Rob Pellikaan said confidence in the Chathams' future had been boosted by the recent upgrade of Moana Pacific Fisheries processing plant. The iwi-owned seafood exporter spent several million dollars upgrading the plant it recently re-opened at Waitangi Wharf. Mr Pellikaan said the port development was about long-term gain. "The hope is that we'll get more cruise liners in, and potentially more shipping companies - who knows. There's a lot of wishful thinking there but at least we'll have the capacity to deal with it."

17 comments:

  1. A bae146 combi would be a better proposition negating much of the need to spend bazillions on airport infrastructure changes. Perhaps the unreliability of the 146 and that it would be an orphan in the region is keeping it off the radar - but then Air Chats aren't adverse to having orphan aircraft in the fleet. A 146 with 90 seats would also remove the requirements for security screening and opens the door for domestic charter opportunities to regional ports where a 737 cannot operate. Or perhaps a Fokker 70/100 would fill the niche for Air Chathams?

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    1. Agree with the 146/RJ combo as a stepping stone. Versatile and cheaply available.
      Still...this is an airline operator that knows it's market. Giving Tuuta a longer heavier PCN runway simply opens up the world to islanders.

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    2. The Emeny's have been doing this for a while now. Pretty sure they know what will work.

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  2. $35m is a bargain considering the amount of tax that is paid out there from fishing. 737 would hold in good stead into future for parts and training

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  3. Would the 146 be more expensive to run??? Four engines???
    Also, couldn't see a 737 being operated to the Chats in a full passenger configuration so would that negate the need for security screening???

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    1. four small engines. Four hairdryers

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    2. Thats 4 engine overhauls to pay for. Twice as many rotables to pay for. Uncommon engine compared to 737s

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  4. What about q400 and auckland to invercargille route

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    1. Done - this is a no brainer. Used Q400s always available.. Combi models marketed by Bombardier.. Auckland-Invercargill would be a market to themselves.. And very popular

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    2. Your dreaming

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    3. I dont think q400 needs runway upgrades tho and alot lower operating costs than an old 737

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  5. A 737 would be Considerably cheaper than an atr or bombardier. 146 too old. 737-4 in combi would be a logical option, spares, maint crew training all make sense. Based on their history to date I highly doubt new routes like akl-ivc would be sought by chats. They aren't interested in competing with mainline carriers

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    1. BAe 146/ Avro RJ production from 1983-2002. There's a fair range of years to choose from. The 737 spans the same age

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  6. If Air Chathams get a 737 that would mean another reason why to fly them..I don't care if I have to connect via AKL or WLG I would definitely use this service

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  7. Some of the above comments show a failure to recognise that the core business on the Chathams run is freight. Even with the development of a seasonal visitor industry over the last twenty years, passenger numbers have not grown much, but freight has. If any jet operation is to be achieved, it will be built on increased loads of chilled fresh wetfish. The new port will offer the fishing industry that opportunity - this could even be in the hundreds of tons a year in time. Air Chathams now flies many tons of live cray and some other chilled fish products, having started the live cray industry in the 1980s before it carried passengers. Selecting the 737 in mixed passenger/freight configuration is a no-brainer, and follows on from the same market approach with the Convairs. With Air Chathams now solidly established at the south end of Auckland Domestic in engineering as well as operations, and with plenty of opportunity on its present routes centred around that core, it has no reason to consider the flights of fancy suggested by some above.

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  8. I thought I read somewhere that AS are soon to retire their 737-400 Combi's ;o)

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  9. An ideal aircraft would be the 737 ZK-NQC.

    Chris

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