04 May 2021

Barrier Air announces Whitianga air service


Continuing its development as an innovative and high-functioning regional airline Barrier Air has announced today that it will commence daily services between Auckland International and Whitianga. The service will use Barrier Air's Cessna 208 Grand Caravans with the airline in the process of purchasing a fourth Cessna Grand Caravan to cater for the new Whitianga service. The service will be able to operate IFR with the airline working to reactivate the GPS approach at Whitianga. This is first time that Whitianga has had an IFR service. A Caravan will overnight in Whitianga, leaving around 7:30am and returning from Auckland at 5:00pm in summer or 4:30pm in winter. Services will commence in mid-December 2021.

Commenting on the new service Barrier Air's Chief Executive Officer Grant Bacon told 3rd Level NZ, We are excited to be launching our new route to Whitianga later this year. We were not meant to announce it until mid-winter but it seems there is already a lot of local support for the new service and I had a phone call from the reporter at the local Whitianga newspaper ‘asking if the rumours were true?’ so we thought we may as well run with it and start promoting it now. We are looking to launch in early December in time for the peak season. With our now successful Kaitaia route I feel that Whitianga will be a lot easier than Kaitaia was. A couple of years ago when we increased our services to Kaitaia to 27 sectors per week we felt it was a big risk and would either make or break us. But at the time we made some really good relationships up in the far north with local business, the iwi and locals. We walked the streets promoting the service in Kaitaia and it actually started to work. Post-Covid it is near the record levels of summer 19/20 and we are really pleased with how Kaitaia is going. So based on this experience, Whitianga has a larger populations base, it’s a tough commute via road and people have more ties to Auckland with family and holiday homes etc and the region is very marketable which is why we have decided to give it a crack. Commissioning the GPS approach has been a good experience with Airways and the flight time is pretty quick compared with Great Barrier Island so we feel this will be a winner.

The Caravan is a very marketable product for small towns which are used to smaller aircraft. People expect a turbine engine when flying on scheduled services these days and we will be marketing the benefits of the aircraft as part of our offering. Having the IFR approach means the service will be reliable and I expect it to become a similar product and have a good reputation as we do these days in Kaitaia. Our team on the ground in Kaitaia have great relationships in the community and we will look to employ ground staff in Whitianga which will promote the service in a similar fashion.  We plan to overnight the aircraft in Whitianga, which will save on Auckland Airport aircraft parking charges”

With work started on the extra laning of the Papakura-Drury South motorway likely to bring more traffic jams on Auckland motorway and with increasing road traffic on the Coromandel Peninsula the Barrier Air's new air service looks to offer a quick, reliable, all weather air connection to the Coromandel without the hassle of the variability of traffic conditions. As borders continue to open the new service also offers good connections to international flights without the expense of parking at Auckland airport. 

All in all this is another exciting development in Barrier Air's evolving story.

For more information see : http://theinformer.co.nz/detail.aspx?cid=3591


  1. Brilliant news.

    I think a handful of us here have won a "pretend" chocolate fish for correctly guessing/speculating the next route when Steve posted one of those news bulletins regarding Barrier getting another Caravan...

    Barrier Air has certainly come leaps and bounds from an icky situation when it had it's mix fleet of the Piper and Islanders/Trilanders and the issues behind the scenes and growing into a very professional airliner.
    With the Barrier being it's bread and butter and growing the filling being Kaitaia. Growing their fleet, getting a common brand/image throughout the fleet and growing the schedule as a result of being professional and hard work, it's great to see them now adding routes beyond the scope. I guess apart from Kaitaia.. They are a becoming a "Gulf/Barrier airline"
    I have often thought of how feasible would opening up a southbound connection from the North shore airport with the likes of Barrier Air... Could there be potential... Once Borders open up... A connection between North Shore with either Hamilton or even a shuttle between North Shore and Auckland Airport?
    Also Thames could be a natural option with it's sizable population as well with the western side of the Coromandel and parts of the Hauraki plains with the like's of Paeroa being scooped up in that net, even Whangamata which is a wealthy sizeable population between Thames and Whitianga and a hour and a half 'on a good day' drive to the Mount.. I mean it is a 13 seat plane and potential freight aspect that those Caravans can haul.
    I guess next will be Air Chatham's new route along with any new routes in the pipeline.... Masterton.....
    I feel that there could be a market with Hastings airport and connecting the sizable population in and around that area particularly some of the wineries and other various horticulture activities in the south Hawkes bay. I guess it would have to be Sounds air and most likely a PC12.

  2. Well this one is unexpected. Good on them for giving it a go. Plus the price for one way ticket is just $80. If it was Sun Air it will be double the price or more.

  3. $80 lead in is not bad at all, actually very good price. Not only would it be a drop in the ocean those who own property on Coromandel who would have a disposable income and cash to burn, but for those who want a weekend away, book a rental car, accommodation be it airbnb or a hotel/motel with a flight that goes with it. I feel that this could be a bit of an gold mine "pardon the pun" for Barrier....
    No longer is it at least a three hour drive cut down to an hour, Whitianga will be an attractive option for many as Whitianga aerodrome is a stones throw from the main township. There are many Aucklanders that actually call that region home, a number business men and women who actually commute from the region to work each day... There is potential for a good mix of R&R and commuters alike that would use this service for the price that Barrier have set as their lead in and keep this serive going all year.

    Here is an idea..
    What if Barrier got one of those amphibious C208 and started 'on it's own' or connected Coromandel to the Whitianga service and flew direct from the Cormandel harbor into the Auckland CBD harbor front!!! Now that could be a winner!!! From home direct into work and back home in time for for dinner!!.. Could even be useful as an alternative freight run direct to the shops on the western side of Great Barrier along with charter flights all around the Hauraki...

  4. Drove past the DC-3 of Mangaweka today... Over the last six months it was one winged to be no winged now I see that it's sitting on a truck and trailer...
    Guessing the international airport of Mangaweka is no more...