26 September 2017

A Norfolk Opportunity...

Earlier this month Norfolk Island Airlines announced it's intention to withdraw its direct Auckland-Norfolk Island service. The airline's services  between Auckland and Norfolk Island began on the 18th of June 2017 with the hope that route would achieve the same level of support Air New Zealand had. Norfolk Island Airlines noted that after the service started the Australian Commonwealth Government raised its departure tax by 10% and then in August the Norfolk Island Regional Council announced that it would raise its airport movement charges by nearly 100%. Coupled with larger than planned start-up losses the airline said it was no longer a commercially viable option to continue further investment on the route. The service will end on the 14th of January 2018. This will end an air service that has existed since the 1st of April 1947.

On the 1st of April 1947 NAC began Pacific services from Auckland to the Pacific Island via Norfolk Island. this service using Douglas DC-3s. On the 14th of October 1952 NAC withdrew its Pacific services beyond Norfolk Island. The DC-3 service to Norfolk continued until September 1955 when it too was terminated. 

In November 1955 TEAL took over the Norfolk Island-Auckland service which operated fortnightly by a chartered Qantas flight Douglas DC-4. The DC-4 operated the Norfolk service until the the 1st of June 1975. 

For photos of a QANTAS Douglas Dc-4 scheme at Norfolk Island see

On the 4th of June 1975 NAC returned to Norfolk Island operating a Fokker F27-500 series Friendship on the Auckland-Norfolk Island route under charter to Air New Zealand. After NAC's merger with Air New Zealand on the 1st of April 1978 Air New Zealand continued the Friendship service until Boeing 737s replaced the Fokker Friendships on the Auckland-Norfolk Island services on the 23rd of September 1984.

For photos of a NAC Friendship in the 'white and red' and 'red and orange' NAC schemes at Norfolk Island see

In 2008 Air New Zealand commenced Airbus 320 flights to Norfolk Island supplementing the Air New Zealand Boeing 737 flights. In March 2009, the Airbus 320 aircraft replaced the Boeings on all flights between Norfolk Island and Auckland.

In 2012 Air New Zealand won an Australian government tender to operate flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Norfolk Island with two flights per week from Sydney and one per week from Brisbane. These flights began on the 2nd of March 2012 using Airbus 320s. In 2016 Air New Zealand's General Manager Networks Richard Thomson announced that, "The Auckland-Norfolk Island route is not commercially sustainable so it makes sense to focus our operations out of Australia, where there’s good potential" and that the Auckland- Norfolk Island service would end in May 2017. 

For a photo an Air New Zealand Airbus 320 at Norfolk Island see

Norfolk Island Airlines was the successor to this service.

Will there be a successor - maybe with a turbo-prop or will the service disappear after 70 years of operation???


  1. Perhaps an Air Nelson Q300 would be a good size. Throw in an HF and a raft or two and your good.

  2. How long did the AKL/NLK flight take in the F27?

  3. I remember going from Auckland to Norfolk and back as a child on the QF DC-4.

  4. What amazed me John was that the service went so late... I imagine it was probably the last piston engine international service to NZ

  5. Hey Steve, don't know if you saw this? :) https://fnqskies.blogspot.co.nz/2017...m=facebook&m=1

    Cheers JPM

    1. Sorry this one: https://fnqskies.blogspot.co.nz/2017/09/air-new-zealand-link-air-nelson-ltd.html?m=1

  6. Come on Air Chatham, send a convair!