13 August 2018

3 more Tongan Pics

Real Tonga's Britten Norman Islander A3-PAS at Fua'amotu on 9 August 2018

Real Tonga's MA60 A3-RTL at Fua'amotu on 9 August 2018

Real Tonga's Harbin Y12 A3-SPV arrving at Fua'amotu from Vava'u on 9 August 2018

10 August 2018

The mystery of a new type for air2there???

I'm not quite sure what is happening at air2there... The picture below is new to their website (I think) and I can't find any scheduled flights from PPQ over the next couple of months...

Their Chieftain ZK-MYS has been scrapped. I saw a photo of their Caravan ZK-MYH in bits at Fieldair in Palmerston North taken in November last year. And since then Originair Jetstreams have been operating air2there's flights... air2there are actually the operator that fly the Originair Jetstreams

So I am wondering what does all this mean???

09 August 2018

Jetting into Tonga

On Monday I flew into Tonga for a few days to catch up on friends...

My ride to Tonga - Air New Zealand Airbus 320 ZK-OJB on 6 August 2018

Delighted to get Real Tonga's Saab 340 A3-PUA taxiing at Fua'amotu on 6 August 2018

A couple of desperation shots - Real Tonga's Britten Norman Islander A3-PAS at at Fua'amotu on 6 August 2018...

and a heat haze photo of Real Tonga's HarbinnY-12 A3-PSV at Fua'amotu on 6 August 2018 

A long way from home -  Maltese registered Bombardier Global 6000-BD-700 9H-IGH at Fua'amotu on 6 August 2018

07 August 2018

Air Chathams' Photo Update

With the Southern Motorway into Auckland being a massive and ongoing traffic jam I tend to avoid going to Auckland so when I drove up on Sunday and flew out on Monday I was delighted to catch up on some of the Air Chathams fleet

Convair 580 ZK-KFL featuring a Hopo” or “Toroa” - the Chatham Islands Albatross - at Auckland on 5 August 2018.
An annoying blue shed hides the rego!

Convair 580 ZK-KFL at Auckland on 5 August 2018

Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF off to Whakatane on 6 August 2018

Saab 340 ZK-CIZ off to Whanganui on 6 August 2018

06 August 2018

Damp Day Fails to Dampen Enthusiasm for Kapiti Coast Air Services

Many thanks to Wes from Paraparaumu Beach who sent in these pics from the Kapiti Coast Airport open day on Sunday aheead of Air Chathams' launch of services. Wes writes...

Not sure if you or any of your other contributors were at the Open-day at PPQ today or not, but in case you don't get any other pics I thought I'd send some rough snaps through. Apologies for the average quality; they were only taken on my phone. 

The event got a great roll-up from what I saw! I was there fairly late in the day - well after the peak visitors if the car parking around the streets was anything to go by - and there were still loads of people wandering around. The weather wasn't great either, which makes the attendance even more impressive. Along with the decent levels of forward bookings for the new PPQ-AKL service, this seems to be a good demonstration that Air NZ's cancelation wasn't due to lack of community support. 

Great little expo of NZ's smaller players!

Air Chathams' classic DC-3 was doing joyrides around the Kapiti area
air2there are using Originair's Jetstreams to maintain their services from Paraparaumu to Nelson and Blenheim at present. air2there's schedule seems to have been drastically reduced.

The new player on the block... Air Chathams Saab 340 ZK-KRA was obviously creating a lot of interest.

Sounds Air also operate flights from Paraparaumu to both Blenheim and Nelson. Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLS (pictured) and Cessna Caravan ZK-PDM were both on display


04 August 2018

Some thoughts on Originair's new Routes

I wish Originair good luck on its new services to Napier and I suspect it will need it. The two new routes being offered were once offered by Air Central (see : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2013/11/air-central-north-island-commuter.html) which used Cessna 402s and Mitsubishi Mu2s on these routes. Originair's new routes, along with Air New Zealand's Hamilton-Palmerston North service will be the only inter regional flights being offered in the central North Island. 

Air Central's New Plymouth-Napier route was offered only for a short time and didn't seem to garner much support.

The Palmerston North-Napier Air Central run was part of the Gisborne-Napier-Palmerston North-New Plymouth route with a morning southbound service between Napier and Palmerston North and afternoon return enabling business traffic. 

Originair's timetable between New Plymouth and Napier is seeking weekend traffic and so that might pick up some traffic. I suspect the Napier-Palmerston North route is unlikely to pick up much traffic on Mondays given no same day return business traffic is possible. Wednesday's timetable maybe better suited for same day return traffic from Palmerston North. Both routes are add ons to flights from Nelson but flying sectors not generating much traffic is not away for services to last.

The Jetstream is an 18 seater so it will take some filling. Personally I would have thought Nelson-Napier direct would have been more viable. Time will tell over the next few months. 

If I was Originair I think I would be going back to what Air New Zealand operated with Beech 1900s, early morning (i.e. 7.00am) departure and return on the Nelson-Palmerston North route and the same late afternoon. From all accounts that schedule was doing well. With that as the bread and butter route I'd fit in Napier and New Plymouth flights around these. But then again I'm just an arm chair commentator!

03 August 2018

Originair expansion to Napier

A Nelson-based airline is introducing new direct flights from Napier to New Plymouth and Palmerston North. Originair announced on Friday it would start the services from September 28. They included direct flights from Napier to New Plymouth and Palmerston North, and flights from Napier via those cities to Nelson. Managing director Robert Inglis said adding services to Hawke's Bay was a natural extension. The company appreciated the passenger support received to date and whilst these services are not extensive, they do offer Hawke's Bay travellers another choice." Hawke's Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie said it was pleased to welcome Originair to Napier. "It's important to us that we work with airline partners to grow regional connectivity across the domestic network offering more choice and flexibility." The airline would operate direct flights from Napier to New Plymouth at 4pm each Friday and Sunday. Flights from New Plymouth to Napier would also depart on those days at 2.10pm. Those flights would also connect onto the airline's New Plymouth flights direct to Nelson, at 5.20pm. Flights would also operate direct from Napier to Palmerston North at 11.10am on Mondays and 4pm on Wednesdays.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/105997813/airline-to-launch-direct-flights-between-napier-new-plymouth-and-palmerston-north

Originair to Introduce Flights from Napier to New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Nelson from 28th September 2018.

Originair are pleased to announce the introduction of the beautiful Hawke's Bay region to our network of destinations, beginning from 28th September 2018. Napier/Hastings will immediately be able to access the full range of our current network with direct flights to New Plymouth and Palmerston North and via these cities onto Nelson.

New Plymouth - Napier

“The airline has been asked to operate this direct service since we commenced operations to New Plymouth last September and will commence this service extension from September 28th this year” the airlines Managing Director, Robert Inglis said. The service will operate on Friday and Sunday afternoons to allow weekend travelers an easy option when visiting the Hawke’s Bay region. The airline could also add further flights during the week to cater for the business market dependent on demand.


These flights will operate on Friday and Sunday from New Plymouth at 2:10pm and depart from Napier to New Plymouth at 4:00pm.

Friday & Sunday
Depart NPL: 2:10pm - Arrive NPE: 3:00pm
Depart NPE: 4:00pm - Arrive NPL: 4:50pm

Palmerston North - Napier

Originair will introduce direct return flights from Palmerston North to Napier each Monday and Wednesday, commencing on 1st October 2018. The airlines Marketing Manager, Holly Parata, said “With the Manawatu Gorge road now closed and the Saddle Hill road construction likely to cause travel delays in the next few years, a range of travelers will find this service beneficial”.


These flights will offer business travelers a Monday morning flight to and from Napier and over five hours in the Hawke’s Bay region each Wednesday with a 9:40am departure, returning to Palmerston North at 4:30pm.

Depart PMR: 9:40am - Arrive NPE: 10:20am
Depart NPE: 11:10am - Arrive PMR: 11:50am

Depart PMR: 9:40am - Arrive NPE: 10:20am
Depart NPE: 4:00pm - Arrive PMR: 4:40pm

Nelson - Napier

Originair will extend the services it currently operates from Nelson to Palmerston North and New Plymouth onto Napier.

Initially these services to Napier will operate via Palmerston North on Mondays and Wednesdays and via New Plymouth on Fridays and Sundays. The airlines Managing Director, Robert Inglis, said “whilst this was not an extensive service he hoped travelers would enjoy another choice”. The airlines direct weekend services to New Plymouth will continue with some flight time changes that the airline believes travelers will appreciate as they offer further time in New Plymouth for a full weekend away. These Friday and Sunday services will now depart New Plymouth for Nelson at 5:20pm. The airlines marketing Manager, Holly Parata, says that “a further positive change from this new schedule is that it allows Nelson travelers a full business day in Palmerston North with its 9:10am arrival and 5:00pm departure on Wednesdays. We have seen steady growth in the business market supporting our direct services. The schedule changes and Hawke’s bay introduction now offer our travelers even more choice”.


The weekday services via Palmerston North will offer business travelers further flight options to Hawke’s Bay. Services will run Monday and Wednesday mornings with scheduled Monday morning and Wednesday evening return flight options.

Depart NSN: 8:20am - Arrive NPE: 10:20am
Depart NPE: 11:10am - Arrive NSN: 1:10pm

Depart NSN: 8:20am - Arrive NPE: 10:20am
Depart NPE: 4:00pm  - Arrive NSN: 5:50pm

The Napier service on Friday and Sunday will be via New Plymouth as part of a new direct service being introduced between Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay for the weekend travel market.

Friday & Sunday
Depart NSN: 12:40pm - Arrive NPE: 3:00pm
Depart NPE: 4:00pm  - Arrive NSN: 6:20pm

Source : https://mailchi.mp/originair/explore-nelson-for-a-weekend-getaway-1005813

Napier's busy Hawkes Bay Airport

Demand for flights between Hawke's Bay and Auckland will see Air New Zealand put on an extra 12 one-way flights between the centres from the end of October. The new service to be operated over the summer period by the airline's 50-seat Q300 aircraft will depart Auckland at 5:50pm with the aircraft overnighting at Hawke's Bay Airport and returning to Auckland at 7:15am. Air New Zealand regional affairs manager Ian Collier said the additional flights came in response to growing demand from business travellers. "It's great to be able to meet the needs of businesses, with the additional flights offering those travelling from Hawke's Bay the option of three services to Auckland before 8:30am and customers heading to Hawke's Bay three flight options after 5pm," he said. The new flights, commencing on October 28 will see a 7.15am flight from Napier to Auckland, Monday to Saturday, and a 5.50pm flight from Auckland on Sunday to Friday.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/105959847/increased-demand-sees-air-new-zealand-put-on-extra-flights-between-hawkes-bay-and-auckland?cid=facebook.post.105959847

Napier is increasingly becoming a busy airport. From the 28th of October the scheduled movements FROM Napier are as follows

To Auckland with Air New Zealand
Mondays and Tuesdays - 10 flights
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays - 11 flights
Saturdays and Sundays - 9 flights
All these flights are operated by ATR 72s with the exception of the new Q300 flight which operates Monday to Saturday. 

To Auckland with Jetstar
Sunday to Friday - 4 flights
Saturdays - 3 flights
All these flights are operated with Q300s 

To Christchurch with Air New Zealand
Mondays and Tuesdays - 2 flights
Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays - 3 flights
Saturdays and Sundays - 2 flights
All these flights are operated by ATR 72s.

To Wellington with Air New Zealand 
Mondays and Tuesdays - 4 flights
Wednesdays to Fridays - 5 flights
Saturdays and Sundays - 3 flights
All these flights are operated with Q300s with the exception of one ATR flight which operates  Monday to Saturday.

To Blenheim with Sounds Air 
Tuesdays and Thursdays - 2 flight
Fridays and Sundays - 1 flight
These flights are operated with Pilatus PC12s.

To Gisborne with Air Napier
Tuesday to Saturday - 1 flight
This is a courier flight but seats may be available. The flight is operated with a Piper Navajo, Piper Seneca or a Piper Cherokee 6 depending on freight and whether there are passengers.

To Palmerston North and Nelson with Originair
Mondays and Wednesdays
All these flights are operated with Jetstreams.

To New Plymouth and Nelson with Originair
Fridays and Sundays
All these flights are operated with Jetstreams.

01 August 2018

Queenstown Flight Boost for Summer

Jetstar will operate three additional flights a week between Queenstown and Auckland during the peak summer season. The flights will leave Auckland on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6pm. Their scheduled landing time in the resort will be 7.55pm. Return flights would depart Queenstown at 8.25pm, landing in Auckland at 10.15pm, between December 14 and January 14. The additional flights represented a 17% increase on the airline's Queenstown-Auckland route, from 17 return services a week to 20. Up to 17 weekly return services would operate between Queenstown and several Australian destinations. There will be seven each per week to Melbourne and Sydney, and three a week to the Gold Coast.

Sounds Air Sale

One of the things I like doing, which I can't do very often, is try out some of New Zealand's domestic airlines and some of their routes... I've flown on all NZ's current domestic airlines with the exception of one airline... maybe over the summer...

For those who like doing these things Sounds Air have a sale on that might make it affordable for a plane nut to do a day return trip or even longer... Also an opportunity to try out a Pilatus! They are awesome. Here are there specials which are available until midnight Sunday August 5th at https://www.soundsair.com/

31 July 2018

Remember the Viscounts...

Thanks to Gary from California who has contributed these two February 1973 photos of NAC Vickers Viscount ZK-BRD, one during boarding on the tarmac at Christchurch and another cruising past Timaru enroute to Invercargill.  

35 years on 66 seat turbo-props fly between Christchurch and Invercargill, albeit of another generation... Sadly I never got to fly on a Viscount

27 July 2018

Great Kapiti Support

Nearly 2000 seats on Air Chathams have already been booked between Paraparaumu and Auckland ahead of its launch next month - a strong indication of the support Kapiti has for the regional airline. Air Chathams’ founder Craig Emeny and Duane Emeny, General Manager, will be speaking at the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce’s Business Lunch on the 9th of August about their plans for the district. Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce, wants the business communities from Horowhenua through to Porirua to give the airline a warm welcome. “Air Chathams is a fast-growing regional airline, known for its exceptional customer service, convenience and competitive fares. The flights from Kapiti are incredibly business-friendly, with 36 frequent flights to and from Auckland each week. “The recent Colmar Brunton research commissioned by the Kāpiti Coast District Council revealed there is significant untapped potential in Horowhenua and Porirua for travellers. They found in the last 12 months:
  1. More than 44,000 trips to and from Auckland originating from the Kapiti Coast flew via Wellington
  2. More than 11,000 trips to and from Auckland originating from Horowhenua flew via Wellington
  3. More than 85,000 trips to and from Auckland originating from Porirua flew via Wellington
Duane Emeny, General Manager of Air Chathams, is excited by the prospects of operating from Kāpiti. “Initial bookings are trending positively with the first seats sold within minutes of the Kapiti to Auckland service announcement. The airline has sold just under 2000 seats already with another three weeks until launch on August 20. It gives us real confidence that Kapiti residents, and those abroad, are aware of our good reputation and booking seats early with Air Chathams' new Kapiti service". The large number of early bookings is also an indication of the strength of Kapiti’s economy. “Our economy is outperforming the Wellington regions. Last year we grew by 2.7% compared to 2.2% across the wider region. Infrastructure like these daily flights will be vital in shaping our economy - particularly alongside the opportunities major developments like Transmission Gully offer” says Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce. Wayne Maxwell, Kāpiti Coast District Council CEO, will also speak about the coast’s fantastic economic prospects at the business lunch which will be held at Southwards on the 9th of August at 12 pm. Every person attending the lunch has a chance to win a return flight to Auckland on Air Chathams. The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce exists to advance the economy by creating wealth and employment and solve local business issues by providing a collective voice for business in Kāpiti. Over 300 members in Kāpiti belong to the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce to stay connected, network and gain knowledge and support from our local membership.

Press Release: Kapiti Coast Chamber Of Commerce

23 July 2018

A Glimpse of the Future

As posted earlier in the week Whakatane received its first Air Chathams' Saab 340 flights over the weekend with ZK-KRA operating Air Chathams' flight 3C 826 from Auckland to Whakatane on Saturday 21 July 2018. This is the first of what Air Chathams and the Whakatane District Council hope will be a regular sight on peak services to Whakatane. The Saab returned to Auckland on Sunday 22 July 2018 as flight 3C 833. 

Thanks to Mark Stout for allowing me to use his photos

The first Saab 340 flight into Whakatane on a scheduled service, ZK-KRA on 21 July 2018

Earlier the day Mark caught Air Chathams' Metro 23 ZK-POF departing Whakatane for Auckland

Sunair's Whangarei Developments

Northlanders aspiring to become airline pilots need not go far with the opening of a fully-fledged flying school in Whangārei. Tauranga-based domestic carrier Sunair is obtaining the necessary regulatory approval for the school, to be based at the old aero club in Onerahi, where the company already has an office. Sunair has a contract with the Northland District Health Board to fly medical personnel from Whangārei to Kaitaia and back every day. Based on public demand, its six-seater planes also operate between Whangārei, Great Barrier Island, Hamilton and Tauranga. Director Bev Power said the company hoped to have the flight training school in Whangārei up and running in four to six weeks. "The only flight training school at present for the people of Northland is in Auckland. We felt there was a possibility for something like that in Northland. We've got flight instructors and have done a bit of research around high schools, and the feedback we've received is people are keen," she said. The school will offer private as well as commercial pilots' courses. Sunair has a similar school based at the Tauranga Aero Club which high school students attend to get a head start in flying. Power said two flight instructors were in Whangārei and the company had the ability to send more if needed. Sunair will use its four-seater Cessna 172 planes in the new flight training school which will initially cater for 10 people. There was such a massive shortage of pilots worldwide that airlines were training people in the field, Power said. "When we started the company, we could hold pilots for two to four years abut now they are gone in one year. The shortage of pilots is due to an expansion of airlines. "Qatar Airways, for example, is adding something like 30 places to its fleet every year and then you see the number of airlines flying to and from Asia, particularly China these days." Power said there was an investment in becoming an airline pilot but the rewards were great. The estimated cost of obtaining a private pilot licence with Sunair would be about $12,000 and there may be additional fees for medicals, exams and Civil Aviation Authority charges. The cost includes about 60 hours of flying time. To advance to a commercial pilot licence with an additional 140 hours' flight time, the approximate cost is $28,000. Each course will take three months for a full-time student to finish. "While, with full time study, each licence may take as little as three months, it is suggested that it can take around two years to gain all the qualifications to be ready for an airline to snaffle you up," Power said. People can register their interest in any of the courses by calling Sunair on 07 575 7799.

Source : https://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503446&objectid=12088622

Meanwhile there seems to be little activity in regards to the airline. I noticed a post on their Sunair Facebook page about Hamilton-Gisborne services but then realised it was July 2017! The post needs to be unpinned from the top of their page. Meanwhile on three late running flights from Hamilton to Wellington an announcement has come over the PA for passengers travelling to Gisborne to go strait to gate number whatever... An expensive way to fly HLZ-GIS! 

20 July 2018

A Sounds Air Sort of Day

It was an early start this morning to catch Sounds Air flight S8 801 from Taupo to Wellington this morning with a 6.20am departure! YAWN!

On descent in Wellington 

My ride to Wellington, Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLX...
...with the flight from Westport parked in front of us, Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLT
In the afternoon Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SAA was about to launch for Blenheim

And after it departed we boarded S8 812 back to Taupo in ZK-PLT

Departing Middle Earth and flying into the Murk
Over the Murk
And clearing skies for the descent into Taupo

Lake Rotongaio

And a sunnier day at Taupo than in Wellington
I'm looking forward to flying Sounds Air again in September... I took advantage of the recent specials and booked a seat to Nelson and back on the Dominion Post newspaper service.