29 December 2020

2020 - The NZ domestic airline scene in review

2020 has been one out of the bag...

On New Years day I made a prediction of what I thought might happen on the domestic airline scene...
You can read that here... 

And then there was Covid... 

Here are the highlights of what actually did happen this year...

3 January 2020

 Sounds Air operated its final Blenheim-Napier-Blenheim service with ZK-PLB operating flights S8 714 from Blenheim to Napier and the return flight S8 715. 

Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLB operating the final Sounds Air flight into Napier on 3 January 2020

21 January 2020

Airwork commenced a four times a week air freight service from Auckland to Sydney on behalf of FedEx.

Airwork's Boeing 737-400 ZK-TLM about to depart as Airwork 1 at Auckland on 29 January 2020

9 February 2020

Air New Zealand operated its final Aerospatiale-Alenia ATR 72-212A (500 series) flight when ZK-MCY operated flight NZ5383 from Wellington to Christchurch.

ZK-MCY at Auckland on 13 April 2013 

14 February 2020

Originair reintroduced flights between Nelson and Wellington. Initially five flights a week were offered.

20 March 2020

Keith and Robyn McKenzie sold Commercial Helicopters Ltd, that operates as Fly My Sky, to Dawn and Scott Young 

25 March 2020

With the country moved to Level 4 Lockdown most domestic air services ceased. Air New Zealand, Air Chathams, Barrier Air, Fly My Sky, Air Napier and Island Air offered minimal essential services. Air Napier ceased its dedicated passenger flights between Napier and Gisborne leaving just the freight flights operating this route and Fly My Sky dropped its Auckland-Matamata (Hobbiton) flights. Air New Zealand never resumed its Hamilton-Palmerston North-Wellington service

Air Napier's Piper Navajo ZK-NPR at Gisborne on 11 February 2020. The plague of Covid and Orange Cones. It still operates the dedicated scheduled freight flight but no longer the passenger flights.

Fly My Sky BN Islander ZK-EVO arriving at Matamata on 9 January 2020

15 May 2020

In an attempt to stimulate the Kaikoura economy Air Kaikoura introduced twice weekly flights between Kaikoura and Wellington. The first flight was flown by Austen Lee in Gippsland Airvan ZK-EHS. Flights operate on Fridays and Sundays.

One of the inaugural Air Kaikoura flights on 15 May 2020 at Kaikoura. Photo : Air Kaikoura Facebook page

11 September 2020

For the first time in its history Barrier Air had all their fleet in the same livery after the repaint of the company's first Cessna 208 Grand Caravan, ZK-SDB.

Looking sharp! With the return of "Bravo" the Barrier Air fleet at Auckland, with from left to right ZK-SDB, ZK-SDD and ZK-SDC. 

15 September 2020

Fly My Sky introduced flights between Great Barrier Island and North Shore. The first flight were operated by BN Islander ZK-SFK. The aircraft flew from Great Barrier to North Shore empty and returned with two passengers. The service has subsequently built up quite nicely.

Not the inaugural flight, but BN Islander ZK-SFK at North Shore on a scheduled service to Great Barrier Island at Claris on 2 October 2020

4 October 2020

A second BAe Jetstream, BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSK, enters service with Originair.

ZK-JSK at Nelson on 4 October 2020 about to depart on its first revenue flight to Wellington...

15 October 2020

Air Chathams commenced ATR 72 operations to the Chatham Islands. ZK-MCO flew flight 3C 591 from Auckland to the Chathams. The first flight out was 3C 512 to Wellington on 16 October 2020. The flights were operated under the command of Matthew Emeny and Paul Cattermole. This event marks the beginning of the end for the Convairs though the airline is still evaluating options.

ZK-MCO on the gate for final boarding at Auckland of the first ATR 72 flight to the Chatham Islands on 15 October 2020 

19 October 2020

Originair introduced flights between Palmerston North and Hamilton. The first services OGN 419 from Palmerston North to Hamilton and the return service OGN 426, were operated by BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSK under the command of Captain Murray Vincent and First Officer Josh Hutchison. 

Originair's BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSK arrives at Hamilton inaugurating its services to the Waikato.

2 November 2020

Sounds Air introduced flights between Wanaka and Christchurch. The first flights, S8 710, from Wanaka to Christchurch morning and the return service S8 711 were flown in Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLV with Na’ama Gueta as the Pilot in Command and Phil Brewer the co-pilot.

Ready for the airline's first scheduled service to Christchurch, Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLV at Wanaka on 2 November 2020 

3 November 2020

Airwork introduced Boeing 737-400 ZK-FXL into service with it operating PARCELAIR 475 from Auckland to Christchurch and the return flight 476 in the early hours of the morning of the 4th of November.

13 November 2020

Air New Zealand introduced ATR 72-600 ZK-MZE into service.

21 December 2020

Air Chathams operated its first Saab flight to the Chatham Islands. Saab 340 ZK-CIY flew out to the Chathams from Auckland as CHATHAMS 391 under the command of Craig Emeny and Adrian Whitehead being the first of type to visit the Chathams. After picking up 3 tonne of crayfish the Saab thn flew to Wellington as CHATHAMS 312. 

Saab 340 ZK-CIY at the Chathams on 21 December 2020


  1. Quite a year it has been and one I don't think anyone could have predicted.

    But it is good to see a few of the airlines have expanded despite COVID. Hopefully this pandemic is coming to a close early next year and we can see things pick up again for even more expansions.

    Hope you had a good Christmas Steve and have a happy new year!

  2. Very detailed review of the year it certainly been busy. Thanks so much Steve for all your hard work and dedication to this blog. It's now built up to a wonderful resource of all the NZ airlines over the generations.

  3. Thanks for your support of the blog Jordan and Jarden. Have an awesome 2021