20 August 2018

Kāpiti Coast Service Takes Off

Air Chathams launched its new Kāpiti air service this morning. Flight 3C 641 has just landed at Auckland after getting airborne from Papaparaumu's Kāpiti Coast Airport at 6.54am en route to Auckland. The first flight was flown under the command of Captains Craig Emeny and Duane Emeny with the lovely Etevihe Sakaria the flight attendant looking after the passengers. The inaugural service was operated by Air Chathams Saab 340B ZK-CIZ which positioned to Paraparaumu on Sunday 19 August 2018 as flight 3C 340. The positioning flight was welcomed by a powhiri from the local iwi and local dignatories.

All tucked up for the night, Air Chathams' Saab 340B ZK-CIZ at Paraparaumu on 19 August 2018 ready for the first flight on the 20th.

Flight 3C 641, Air Chathams' first Kāpiti Coast to Auckland service departs Paraparaumu on 20 August 2018

Air Chathams will operate three daily return flights between the Kāpiti each weekday with two northbound flights and one southbound on Saturdays and one northbound and two southbound services on Sundays.

Air Chathams' Kāpiti Coast schedule

While the Air Chathams reservations system show seats available on all flights over the next two weeks the route is sure to grow. Air Chathams has shown a strong community focus towards the centres it service, a go the extra mile customer service and a realiable service. Word will get around!

Air Chathams' arrivals at Auckland for early this morning

Competition with Air New Zealand and Jetstar's cheap flights out of Wellington and to a lesser extent Palmerston North will be the challenge. The big plus is the convenience of flying out of Paraparumu saving an hours travel either way. For most people on the Kāpiti Coast it is easy to drop people off or pick up at the airport saving the parking fees. I understand the Kāpiti Coast Airport also charges parking fees. Air Chathams also offers a good range of cheap fares. Business timed flights are more expensive but so are the competitors' fares out of Wellington and Palmerston North.

Another key to the success of the new service will be getting Auckland people to use it. While the local residents on the Kāpiti Coast will know about the new local air service Aucklanders won't. I also wonder about the demand for business people wanting to fly into the Kāpiti Coast. To that end Air Chathams will do well to encourage the Kāpiti Coast as a destination for conferences and leisure.

Air Chathams are also looking to develop an air service to Norfolk Island.

My profile on Air Chathams has been updated : 

For links to posts on other airlines that have flown to Paraparaumu see :

18 August 2018

North Shore Flights to be Relaunched

Barrier Air has announced on its Facebook page the relaunch of its flights between North Shore and Great Barrier Island. These flights faded away from the schedule earlier this year for a number of reasons, including the withdrawal of the Britten Norman Islander and Partenavia.

Subject to regulatory approval services will relaunch from from the 10th of September 2018 and will be operated with Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravans. The flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with the schedule to be updated in accordance with growing demand. The Barrier Air Facebook page said "We want to say a huge thanks to all of our awesome customers who have patiently waited for this relaunch!"

Bookings can be made at www.barrierair.kiwi or by calling 0800 900 600.

16 August 2018

Kapiti Air Service Set for Take Off

Passengers on Air Chathams' Kāpiti to Auckland service, which starts on Monday, can expect a consistant service that will get them to their destination on time. The airline's on-time performance was greater than 90 per cent in the last 12 months, general manager Duane Emeny said at a Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Southward Car Museum on Thursday. "We're very proud of that. "We are very reliable and the reason for that is that we have a larger fleet of aeroplanes for the schedules that we're operating so in the event of major maintenance or unscheduled maintenance we are able to put other aircraft onto those routes and make sure we get people to where they want to be." While the airline would be concentrating "on doing a good job and being reliable", he encouraged people to be their ambassadors. "We want you to be our sales agents and get people to fly out of Kāpiti and support local." Air Chathams founder Craig Emeny, who started the company in the mid 1980s flying live crayfish to the mainland in a six-seater Cessna, said the airline had to provide a good air service at Kāpiti that was reliable and good value. "That is our commitment." Kāpiti Coast District Council chief executive Wayne Maxwell said Air Chathams was "a perfect fit for us here in Kāpiti. I strongly believe we're going to be way better off with this team. They're a family organisation and they've got our values which I think is really important to us. Moreover, there was significant passenger potential for the service." He said 50,000 people flew to and from Auckland out of Kāpiti in the last 12 months, but 45,000 flew out of Wellington and 2500 flew out of Palmerston North. "Our potential market is 97,500 people from Kāpiti alone. In Porirua, 87,000 people flew to Auckland and only thought to look south [out of Wellington]. In 2020 when we've got two new expressways opening it is going to be so much easier for them to think north. So the potential market for them [Air Chathams] is pretty darn big. Let's get excited. We won't get all of these people but my goodness we can attract a lot of them and then that plane is going to be too full and then we're going to be having a different conversation." He noted Air New Zealand's Kāpiti to Auckland service, which stopped on April 3, "was a very financially viable air service". "So for anyone out there who tells you that Air New Zealand pulled out because they were losing money, that bollocks, that's a technical term, we all know they pulled out because of their scheduling and their issues about what they wanted to do with their fleet and positioning." Otaki MP Nathan Guy was keen to see an Air Chathams link on the Air New Zealand website as well as joint bag tagging, airpoints and lounge sharing with the national carrier. "I know there are discussions happening. I think Air New Zealand has to wake up to the fact that Air Chathams is now providing that strategic support in regions up and down New Zealand."

Whanganui Schedule Alterations

Air Chathams is tweaking its flight schedule, saying it will provide a faster turnaround and less congestion on the more popular flights. The changes, which will affect some Whanganui and Whakatāne flights, come as the airline's passenger service grows and it prepares to introduce its Kāpiti Coast-Auckland service on August 20. From Monday, August 20, Whanganui passengers flying to Auckland on weekdays will leave 10 minutes earlier with take-off scheduled for 6.45am instead of 6.55am. The first flight of the day from Auckland to Whanganui will depart at 8.20am instead of 8.30am. The Monday to Friday afternoon flight from Auckland to Whanganui will be at 3pm instead of 3.15pm. Air Chathams commercial manager Adrian Ali says this will ensure a faster turnaround for those departing back to Auckland on the connecting flight. There are no changes to the Saturday and Sunday schedules.

Air Chathams Looking Forward

Air Chathams has been providing flights between Whanganui and Auckland for two years.Air Chathams has been providing flights between Whanganui and Auckland for two years. Two years in and Air Chathams is so confident with its move into the Whanganui market, it is holding up the service as an example to other communities and talking expansion. Air Chathams took over the Whanganui-Auckland route in August 2016 after national carrier Air New Zealand pulled out of the service. General manager Duane Emeny said Air Chathams had settled into Whanganui and was well-liked in the community. "It's good, in a word," Emeny said. "We're very happy with Whanganui. We get a huge amount of positive feedback from the community which is really good." Air Chathams will begin flying between the Kāpiti Coast and Auckland on August 20, again picking up a route ditched by Air New Zealand. "We've used the Whanganui example over and over and over again when we've been talking with the council and community in Kāpiti because we feel there are parallels," Emeny said. "What we have seen with the majority of passengers choosing not to drive 50 minutes [from Whanganui] to Palmerston North and flying out of there gives us confidence that we can do the same in Kāpiti where the drive to Wellington is slightly longer. "We using the same model and aircraft type for Kāpiti Coast as in Whanganui so we have every chance of succeeding. "Now it's onwards and upwards. The key for us in the next 12 months is product development." This would include working more closely with larger carriers and providing interconnectivity for passengers with other airlines. Commercial agreements with larger flag-carrying airlines, such as Air New Zealand, and inclusion of Air Chathams' schedules in the global distribution system used for booking flights would increase awareness of flights to places like Whanganui, Whakatāne and the Chatham Islands. "We want to make sure Whanganui and other smaller centres have better visibility globally," Emeny said. "We hope those changes will increase [passenger] numbers coming through Whanganui." Flights to Christchurch could be a future possibility, Emeny said. "Right now we're prioritising the new Kāpiti service and we need to make sure we can run that successfully. It's really important we do a good job there and get local community support to make that successful. "From there it allows the airline to grow and develop and look at the potential for Christchurch flights. You never know until you try." The airline is also considering introducing its first international flight on the Auckland-Norfolk Island route. "The challenge is making sure we plan for that growth," Emeny said. "Making the step from being a reasonably small operation to a larger second tier airline and resourcing it and doing it properly and having the experience and team to do that." With the future in mind, Air Chathams has recently employed experienced staff from major airlines, including a flight operations manager and a safety manager to develop the airline's safety management systems.

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/