18 January 2017

Capital Air - A Capital Way to Takaka

Capital Air had its origins in a company called Zephair Limited which was founded by Richard Molloy and Lisa Sheppard in November 2005. Flights began between Wellington and Takaka beginning on the 12th of January 2006 under the name of Capital Air. The first flight was flown by Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga, ZK-ZIG (c/n 32R 8013045) by the Wellington Aero Club's Chief Instructor Dan Howe. The first flight arrived in Takaka at 5.20 pm in deteriorating weather conditions whereupon the pilot immediately announced he wasn't returning much to the shock of the waiting three passengers. Passengers were shuttled back and forth to flights from Nelson for the next couple of days while waiting for the weather to clear! Initially over the January holiday period four flights a week were operated and after, flights operated twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, with additional flights over long weekends. 

A change to the company name was made in September 2006 when Zephair Ltd was renamed Capital Air Bookings Ltd.

The company mainly used the Piper Saratoga but Beech 58 Baron ZK-WLV (c/n TH 698) was also used. The aircraft were based in Wellington and crewed by instructors from the Wellington Aero Club.  In 2006 these flights ran until Queens Birthday weekend and then ceased over the winter months restarting in late September. In following years the flights ran from late September until late April with the frequency of flights increasing, especially during peak summer periods. During the peak season up to six flights were scheduled per week with additional flights operated on demand.

Piper PA32 Saratoga ZK-ZIG at Takaka on 30 November 2007

Also used occasionally on the service was Beech 58 Baron ZK-WLV which was photographed at Hokitika on 7 June 1996

Capital Air, 1 September 2007

As well as the flights to Takaka, Capital Air also operated charter and scenic flights from Wellington.

Piper Saratoga ZK-ZIG with Capital Air titles at the Wellington Aero Club on 16 April 2009. 

In May 2009 Capital’s Air base was moved from Wellington to Takaka and the company was renamed Golden Bay Air Ltd to reflect its increasing commitment to the Bay.

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