15 July 2018

Tauranga Airliners...

I have hardly done any plane spotting but managed a few quick trips to Tauranga Airport last week... Mainly fairly boring stuff with very general aviation movements 

Bombardier Q300s ZK-NEB (above) and ZK-NES (below) last Sunday 

An airliner I would love to fly in... De Havilland Heron ZK-BBM on 9 July 2018

ATR 72-600 ZK-MVI arrived before the next down pour on 9 September 2018

A couple more Bombardier Q300s on 9 September 2018... ZK-NEU (above) and ZK-NEZ (below)

On 10 July one of the Motiti Island "airliners" Cessna 172 ZK-FII was in a nice sunny spot
ATR 72-600 ZK-MVK barrelled in
While the RNZAF's answer to an airliner, Hercules NZ7004 was in the circuit

13 July 2018

Barrier Air to relaunch North Shore flights

Barrier Air has announced on its Facebook page that it is intending to relaunch its flights between North Shore Airport and Great Barrier Island using its Cessna Grand Caravans. Barrier Air's Nick Pearson said the airline has been negotiating for some time with the Civil Aviation Authority to use the Caravans in and out of the North Shore Airport. The airline has one more check to complete and hopes to reluanch services in about six weeks. The airline hopes to have a North Shore schedule on its website in the next couple of weeks.

Barrier Air's two Cessna Grand Caravans, ZK-SDB and ZK-SDC

The news comes shortly after the announcement of the sale of the airline's Britten Norman Islander. Barrier Air now operates an all turbine fleet. 

Stunning Convair!

One to look out for... Air Chathams' Convair 580 ZK-KFL is being painted with a “Hopo” or “Toroa”, a Chatham Islands Albatross by Mr G... Graham 'Mr G' Hoete is a street artist from the Bay of Plenty who specialises in photorealism... ZK-KFL is a dedicated freighter that Air Chathams use on freight services in New Zealand and out to the Chathams

09 July 2018

Airport Work at the Chathams

At present a significant amount of work is being undertaken the Chathams' Tuuta Airport.

Work includes

  • apron repairs to secure areas of fuel damaged seal. 
  • sealing of the driveway and hangar frontages to secure damaged seal and overcome loose seal chip problems. 
  • establishment of a sealed road for Air Chathams Fuel Tanker to stop the transfer of mud and stones onto the apron. 
  • geotechnical test pits and pavement strength tests to gather data for design of the proposed runway extension. 
  • detailed grid survey of the entire airport property and runway for the design of the proposed runway extension. 
  • siting of equipment pads for the new solar lighting system. The current solar powered runway lights with a new aerodrome lighting system, an Avlite Solar system and will include the establishment of approach lights for both ends.

07 July 2018

Islanders flying the coop

Vanuatu's Unity Airlines has posted on the Britten-Norman Aircraft Preservation Society Facebook page that they have put o deposit on BN Islander ZK-FVD "and hope to get it back to Vanuatu before the Nose leg calendar times out. Engines are low time as are the props, it has about 27,750Hrs. on the air frame, so it knows how to fly by now!"

Below are some pictures of FVD in various colour schemes with Great Barrier Airlines and Barrier Air.

Meanwhile Dennis Thompson International has listed the three ex Mount Cook Airline BN Islanders ZK-DBV - 22,613 hrs, ZK-MCD - 22,778 hrs and ZK-MCE - 16,456 hrs for sale.




Watch out for the hooks!

In the last few days I booked an Air NZ flight using some of my airpoints and paying for the rest on my credit card...

To my amazement I found it cost me $46.40 Airpoint dollars to do this. There was no pop up box coming up when I did the flight booking where you can opt in or out, just the deduction from my airpoints!

So what does the Air NZ website day about it??? You can read about flexipay at https://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/airpoints-flexipay or have a look at the picture...

It's only when you go hunting to find terms and conditions that you find the bit about cost...

If you are like me just doing a booking as a regular routine it is easy to miss if there are any extra hidden costs. The booking system didn't stop me and say you will be charged extra for this.

The better option for me would have been to pay for one flight with airpoints and the other with my credit card.

Of course it is not the only way to get creamed - the fee per sector for using a credit card is another hidden cost as well!

So be warned - look for hidden costs while booking!

And while I am in whinge mode I accept paying the extra costs when I change a booking.

But what about when it is on the other foot. I have had two recent schedule changes which have necessitated phoning the call centre. The first occasion I tried on three occasions and was told about heavy call demand. The last time I waited after 10.00pm for over half an hour for a twenty five minute change to my flight time. No credit to my airpoints for Air NZ's changing the flight!

The second time it was only a 12 minute wait for an operator but it was the same message... you just don't know how long you have to wait.

Surely Air NZ schedule changes can be sorted on line!

Okay... whinging over and out

06 July 2018

An interesting report...

For those interested in the NZ domestic aviation scene I came across a report (link below) that offers some interesting reading... I haven't had a chance to read it but I'm sure it will stimulate some comment...


03 July 2018

Dust of your old photos and search your memory banks...

I am working on a post on the history of the Dominion/Dominion Post being flown across Cook Strait...

The service has been operated by a number of operators as follows...

Would anyone happen to have any photos of aircraft on the newspaper run???

If you have can you contact me at westland831@gmail.com

I also have a few specific questions about the air service. But it would be really nice to get some personal experience just to give the history a little life... What was the normal routine for the pilot in terms of route, loading/unloading, carrying passengers??? any unusual stories???


JAMES AIR The Dominion newspaper flight was a pure freight flight and didn't appear in their timetable. Can any pilot tell me from their logbook what was routine on the daily freight run? I know the 402 and 404 Titan were used on the service. Was the Aero Commander ever used???

The MARLBOROUGH AERO CLUB operated the service for a matter of a few weeks in 1981 with a Beech Baron. Do you know the registration of the Baron the Club used???

WELLINGTON AERO CLUB used Cessna 320 Skyknight, ZK-EGN on the run for some months in 1981. Can any pilot tell me from their logbook what was routine on the daily freight run?


SKYFERRY were the successors to Air Albatross. The flight was a pure freight flight and didn't appear in their timetable. Can any pilot tell me from their logbook what was routine on the daily freight run?





Thanks in advance for your help


02 July 2018

Kapiti Air Service to Start 20 August


Air Chathams has today announced it will launch a new regional flight service between Kāpiti and Auckland, offering more flights than ever before to and from Kāpiti Coast Airport. From 20 August, Air Chathams will operate 36 flights a week between Auckland and Kāpiti, a new regional route for the family-owned airline, which will offer travellers up to 1152 seats per week on board its fleet of Saab 340 aircraft. “As an airline that is committed to the regions in New Zealand, we are absolutely delighted to be launching a new service in Kāpiti,” said Craig Emeny, the owner of Air Chathams. “We think the route has a huge amount of potential, and we are really looking forward to getting to know the local community and delivering a quality flight service that residents can be proud of.” Established in the mid-1980s on the Chatham Islands, flying live crayfish to the mainland, Air Chathams is New Zealand’s largest privately owned airline, operating more than 80 flights per week between Auckland, Whakatane, Whanganui, Wellington, Christchurch and the Chathams. As a community focused company, Mr Emeny said the Kāpiti-Auckland route was a welcome addition to its flight schedule, which had grown steadily over the years thanks to its reputation for reliability and convenience. The company’s twin-engine turboprop Saab 340 aircraft seat up to 36 passengers, with a flight attendant on board. “Making sure that we deliver a frequent and quality service that people can rely on has always been at the heart of our business operation, and we are excited about delivering an airline service that will make a positive contribution to Kāpiti’s future regional economic growth,” Mr Emeny said. A number of organisations have pitched in to support the successful start-up of the Air Chathams service, including Air New Zealand, Kāpiti Coast District Council and Kapiti Coast Airport. “We would like to acknowledge the support we have received from these organisations. They have all worked hard to offer substantial support, to ensure that a direct service from Kapiti to Auckland will resume,” Mr Emeny said. Kāpiti Coast Airport’s support has included a free premises lease for the first year, followed by a 33 per cent discount on the lease previously paid by Air New Zealand for another two years, or during the period Air Chathams is building up its Kāpiti-Auckland service. “Kāpiti Coast Airport is committed to supporting airline services, and we are really pleased that the region has managed to attract a quality service like Air Chathams,” said Evan Davies, Managing Director of Todd Property, the company that owns the airport. “We look forward to working with Air Chathams, as we continue to provide a regional airport facility that is dedicated to safety, security and customer service.” Bookings are now open for Kāpiti-Auckland flights. For information and bookings, visit Air Chathams’ website https://www.airchathams.co.nz/ or call 0800 580 127.

Source : Air Chathams Press Release

The Kāpiti Coast District Council welcomes news that Air Chathams will step in to take over the Kāpiti to Auckland air service. Tickets went on sale today on the airline’s website www.airchathams.co.nz. The service will start on 20 August using aircraft from the company’s fleet of three Saab aircraft. The Saab is a twin engine turboprop with seating capacity for up to 36 passengers. Air Chathams already operates in Auckland, Whakatane, Whanganui, Wellington, Christchurch and its Chatham Islands’ home base. Air Chathams CEO Craig Emeny says the airline is really looking forward to its first flights and to meeting its new customers from Kāpiti and beyond. “Our business is built on a real sense of involvement in the communities we serve. It’s a way of operating that’s seen us connecting regional New Zealand for over 30 years which will be a key part of our success on the Kāpiti to Auckland route too,” Mr Emeny says. “Planning for this new service has been complex, but our whole team is excited to be able to put our skill and experience to work on this new route.” Mayor K Gurunathan says the family-owned operator’s strong regional reputation is a good fit for Kāpiti. “I am absolutely delighted Air Chathams has decided to support our District’s economy and our community by offering this vital air service between Kāpiti and Auckland,” he said. The Council has agreed to support Air Chathams through the ‘Fly Kāpiti’ campaign, as the airline starts work on building a strong and loyal customer base. Council’s financial support is supplemented by initial support from Air New Zealand and longer term incentives from the Kāpiti Coast Airport. Air New Zealand will match a $50,000 investment in marketing that Council will provide through its Economic Development budget. Kāpiti Coast Airport, which is owned by Todd Property, has also offered Air Chathams a free terminal lease for the first year, along with other ongoing discounts on operating charges to support the successful start-up of a new service. Mayor Gurunathan thanked the many players involved in attracting an airline back to Kāpiti to offer this direct to Auckland service. “From the minute it was announced Kāpiti flights were being withdrawn I told Kāpiti to ‘watch this space’. Now all the hard work with business, community and government to rally support to attract and secure air services for our District has paid off. “It’s been an absolute team effort and we thank everyone involved. Kāpiti Coast Airport, Air New Zealand, our Chamber of Commerce, neighbouring mayors, ministers and MPs have all gone the extra mile to raise our profile in what’s become a national conversation about the needs of regional New Zealand,” Mayor Gurunathan said. Air New Zealand had also stepped up with offers of ongoing assistance and sharing of information and was working closely with Air Chathams, the Council and the Airport to support the new route he said. “The future economic development opportunities the link offers Kāpiti are significant. “We have a buoyant district economy and the ability for people to fly the Kāpiti to Auckland route really strengthens business, family and visitor connections and will bolster our visitor economy. “We know from our conversations with passengers on the previous service that the convenience of this direct route from Kāpiti is a big part of people’s decision-making when choosing to fly from our local airport. The calmer, pleasant travel experience Kāpiti can continue to offer, without the hassle of traffic and weather impacts of a bigger port, is a key point of difference for this service,” Mayor Gurunathan says. “I encourage everyone to think ‘Fly Kāpiti’ when making a decision to fly to Auckland.”

Press Release: Kapiti Coast District Council

01 July 2018

Tonga-Samoa Flights

Tonga's sole domestic carrier, Real Tonga Airline held its inaugural flight to Apia, Samoa, on June 29. The twice-weekly international service flying via Vava’u is operated by a 34-seater SAAB 340 aircraft leased from Australia. Deputy CEO and Commercial Manager Fakatele Faletau who launched the international service at the VIP lounge in Fua’amotu International Airport said this is a milestone for the airline. “Real Tonga is a dream that our CEO and owner Tevita Palu had many years ago. It was a dream to provide an air service for the people of Tonga initially domestically and then spread our wings from there.” he said. The airfare is understood to be around $800 plus pa’anga per person return Tongatapu-Vava’u-Apia , and less for passengers flying direct from Vava’u. The inaugural flight included the airline’s business partners, airline staff and other paid customers who had already booked. The flight takes one hour to Vava’u and another hour and 15 minutes to Apia. Passengers ready to board the inaugural Real Tonga flight to Apia, Samoa, at Fua'amotu International.