06 May 2021

Plane Spotting Odds and Sods

Cessna 182 Skylane ZK-EKK at Christchurch on 2 May 2021

Vans RV-7 ZK-RWJ at Christchurch on 2 May 2021

Life Flight's British Aerospace Jetstream 32 ZK-LFT at Hamilton after my arrival back from Christchurch on 4 May 2021

I had a few minutes at Auckland on 5 May 2021... China Southern's Boeing 787 B-209X was arriving

China Airlines' Airbus 350 B-18910 landing at Auckland on 5 May 2021

...as was Qantas' Boeing 737-800 VH-XZH 


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

03 May 2021

Bruce Gavin RIP

It is with much sadness that I announce the passing of Bruce Gavin. Born and bred in Matamata he  spent his working career as a teacher, mostly in Matamata but also for a time in Feilding. He was also involved in the community particularly in community assistance work and at Matamata's Firth Tower Museum. A quiet, unassuming man, he always had a passion for those in need.

Bruce developed his passion for aviation as a boy and particularly developed an interest in New Zealand airline activity. He was a long-time member of the Aviation Historical Society of New Zealand and over the years wrote many pieces for the various AHSNZ publications. He also wrote Heartland High Flier, the definitive history of Air Central as well as being one of the authors of Taking Off on the small pioneering airlines of New Zealand from 1945 to 1970. He had a vast and unsurpassed knowledge of the New Zealand third level airlines and it was he who was a big influence on me developing my interest in the third level airlines. Over the years we have exchanged many letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings and timetables. Bruce was a big supporter of this blog and my go to person for so much information. I was humbled last year when he gifted me with his photograph and research collection.

Bruce is survived by his wife Patricia, four children and three grandchildren.

Rest in peace good and gentle friend. 

02 May 2021

Sounds Air Looks to Up Wanaka Flights

Today marks six months on the Christchurch to Wanaka route after the the company's ten-aircraft fleet were all but grounded by Covid-19 a year ago. CEO Andrew Crawford says they'll be adding more flights for the ski season, and as more visitors and business people start returning to air travel. He says people are going back to travelling more, and while Zoom works to a certain extent, nothing beats face to face.

Ash-Vegas Sunshine

A quick trip to Ashburton and by default the airport resulted in three pics yesterday and a couple of good conversations

This one fooled me... Cessna 172 ZK-BSU at Ashburton on 2 May 2021

Cessna 206 ZK-JDV at Ashburton on 2 May 2021

AutoGyro Europe Calidus Fern at Ashburton on 2 May 2021

30 April 2021

An unknown operator - Can you shed any light?

I'm looking for any information on Island Air Services that operated out of Tauranga to Motiti Island... 

The only "evidence" of the operator I have is this photo of ZK-DRD with Island Air Services titles taken on 25 January 1990... But by mid-1990 ZK-DRD had Sunair titles.

The registration history of ZK-DRD shows it registered as follows...

26/09/1984 Island Air Safaris Ltd, Tauranga

26/10/1984 Motiti Island Air Ltd, Tauranga

28/02/1990 Island Air Services, Mount Maunganui

03/07/1995 K.K. Pond, Te Puke

So, did Island Air Services actually exist or was this a name Sunair used initially for the Motiti operation?

If it was a separate operator/company who was the owner(s) and when did Sunair buy it out or take it over?

Ultimately, from what I understand, Sunair sold the operation to Paul Ensor - Island Air Charters? Is this correct?

Any info, corrections, additions or otherwise you can give me would be much appreciated

Thanks Steve, westland831@gmail.com

29 April 2021

The West Coast's third airline

As I noted yesterday there are three airlines operating regular services to the West Coast... A few days ago I featured Air New Zealand's service to Hokitika... Yesterday I was at Westport and captured Sounds Air's flight S8 903 arriving from Wellington... and today I made my first visit to Karamea and was delighted to capture Golden Bay Air who operate non-scheduled services between Karamea and Takaka (with connections to and from Wellington) and Nelson (with connections to Air New Zealand services).

Golden Bay Air's major workhorse Gippsland GA-8 Airvan ZK-ZUG at Karamea on 29 April 2021

Karamea terminal facilities

A charter group about to depart on ZK-ZUG

Golden Bay Air's Edward closing up for departure

See you later Edward

My sister said... "why have you got three photos the same?" I like a slightly forward shot, nice shot of the wave good bye, and I like being able to read all the titles... the titles need to moved slightly rear to a nice side on shot has all the titles visible.

Thanks to a very patient brother-in-law we called into Karamea airport again after doing the Oparara Arches and I was delighted to see Helicopter Charter Karamea's Bell Longranger ZK-HKE

A couple of trampers were waiting for a flight and a few minutes later Mit arrived in Adventure Flights Golden Bay's Cessna 185 ZK-MIT.

While in Karamea I met Air Charter Karamea's Sam... He's taking a break from operating in these Covid days but look for the Beaver being seen around later. 

28 April 2021

The West Coast's second airline

There are three airlines operating regular services to the West Coast... A couple of days ago I featured Air New Zealand's service to Hokitika... Today I was at Westport and captured Sounds Air's flight S8 903 arriving from Wellington

Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLB arriving at Westport on 28 April 2021

Also at Westport on 28 April 2021 was Precision Helicopters' Bell Jetranger ZK-IRC

27 April 2021

Double Flights starting Next Week

A New Zealand domestic airline service has added a new Hamilton-based aircraft to its fleet, expanding its services. From Monday, May 3, the Originair Jetstream 32 plane will overnight an aircraft and crew in Hamilton allowing an early morning departure to Palmerston North and on to Nelson. The reverse will occur each weekday evening with the aircraft departing Nelson with a direct flight to Palmerston North and on to Hamilton departing at 5.10pm and arriving at 6pm. The service has been on Originair’s agenda since Air New Zealand withdrew the Hamilton to Palmerston North route in October last year. Originair CEO, Robert Inglis, said the morning departure between the two cities allows business travellers to get a full day’s work in Palmerston North. From here, they hope to offer double daily services between the cities. The airlines’ direct Hamilton flights to Nelson each Friday evening, returning on Sunday evening, remain unchanged, as do the Friday and Sunday services between Nelson and Wellington.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/124953609/to-hamilton-and-beyond-new-aircraft-connects-flyers-to-the-north-and-south

Morning flights leave Hamilton at 8.20am to arrive at Palmerston North at 9.20am and Nelson at 10.35am

Afternoon flights leave Hamilton at 3.20pm to arrive at Palmerston North at 4.20pm and Nelson at 5.50pm

Morning flights leave Nelson at 8.30am and Palmerston North at 10.00am to arrive at Hamilton at 11.00am.

Afternoon flights leave Nelson at 3.45pm and Palmerston North at 5.10pm to arrive at Hamilton at 6.00pm.

The double flights operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. With all due respect to Robert Inglis, business travellers would get a day's business in if the morning flights left 80 to 90 minutes earlier. 

26 April 2021

At 75-ville

Operating Air New Zealand flight NZ8836 into Hokitika on 26 March 2021 was Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEU 


The Hokitika terminal was literally jam packed and to it is goo the terminal is being extended as part of the Government's shovel ready projects

Nothing to photograph but it wouldn't be passible... OSH gone mad!

18 April 2021

Ex Kiwi

Thanks to our American correspondent who like his photo has moved to the USU. Boeing 737-3B7 N383TR was previously ZK-TLA. It was registered to Airwork Holdings Ltd  on 23 April 2007 and was operated in Australia for Toll Priority. It was cancelled from the New Zealand register on 07 June 2019 and was exported to the USA where it was registered to Interjet of Toledo Ohio as N933NZ on 18 June 2019. On 2 July 2020 it was reregistered as N383TR with Career Aviation Company of Wilmington, Delaware.

Boeing 737-300, ex ZK-TLA, now N383TR at 11 March 2021 at Fort Worth Alliance Airport

This got me thinking what Boeing 737s Airwork have operated... Have I missed any? NB two have used the rego ZK-TLB

ZK-FXJ Boeing 737-36E c/n 25264
ZK-FXK Boeing 737-36E c/n 25256
ZK-FXL Boeing 737-4D7 c/n 28702
ZK-JTQ Boeing 737-476 c/n 24442
ZK-PAK Boeing 737-476 c/n 24444
ZK-PAQ Boeing 737-476 c/n 24443
ZK-PAT Boeing 737-4Y0 c/n 24683
ZK-PAU Boeing 737-4Q8 c/n 25371
ZK-TLJ Boeing 737-476 c/n 24432
ZK-TLK Boeing 737-476 c/n 24434
ZK-TLL Boeing 737-484 c/n 25362
ZK-TLM Boeing 737-42C c/n 24813

Previously Operated
ZK-FDM Boeing 737-3M8 c/n 25016
ZK-FXT Boeing 737-3B7    c/n 23862
ZK-NQC Boeing 737-219C c/n 22994
ZK-PLU Boeing 737-33A c/n 24094
ZK-SLA Boeing 737-377 c/n 23653
ZK-TLA Boeing 737-3B7 c/n 23383
ZK-TLB Boeing 737-3Q4 c/n 24209
ZK-TLB Boeing 737-3Q8 c/n 26310
ZK-TLC Boeing 737-3B7 c/n 23705
ZK-TLD Boeing 737-3B7 c/n 23706
ZK-TLE Boeing 737-3S1 c/n 24834
ZK-TLF Boeing 737-4Q8 c/n 24709

16 April 2021

Returning to Normal

Local travel consultants and airline operators are excited to see some sense of normality restored after the Government confirmed the transtasman bubble was opening... Chief operating officer Duane Emeny said the bubble was great news for the industry. "It's excellent news. We have been hanging out for this news. It is so crucial to our recovery." Emeny said the timing of the bubble was appropriate and a vast amount of work had gone in to ensure It operated safely. "Every single risk of possible transmission of the virus was meticulously looked at." Air Chathams has had its three biggest days of sales this week since early 2020, before Covid-19 hit the country. "We have definitely seen a lot of interest which is great." Emeny said Air Chathams would be slowly building up its services over the coming months. In May, Air Chathams are looking to add more flights on Fridays to help link with flights leaving to Australia. In August, Emeny said it planned on expanding Whanganui's flight schedule. Currently at 24 flights a week, Air Chathams will return to 36 flights by August, the number it was pre-Covid. "For us, it's so important we get that local support. We have been in Whanganui for the last five years and we aren't going anywhere. Whanganui has always been supportive and we look for that to continue." 

Source : Whanganui Chronicle, 10 April 2021

Checking the Air Chathams' website their schedule seems to be back to "normal" from 2 August with 3 weekday flights to Whanganui and Whakatane and 2 weekday flights to Paraparaumu

15 April 2021

Saabs and Double Frequency for Norfolk Island

Following the announcement of the trans-Tasman bubble, Air Chathams have announced that they are resuming flights to and from Norfolk Island from May 27th. The timetable has been adjusted to see them flying from New Zealand to Norfolk Island on Thursdays departing Auckland at 10:30am allowing easy connections from domestic flights. Flights will arrive back into Auckland at 4:45pm, again allowing for easy transit to destinations outside of Auckland. Air Chathams are also adding an additional departure in each direction from Monday August 2nd. operating on the same schedule.

Air Chathams will also be introducing a new aircraft type on this route - the Saab 340. 

Now it is ZK-JSJ

British Aerospace Jetstream 3201 (c/n 969) ZK-ECJ has been reregistered as ZK-JSJ. 

Built at British Aerospace in Prestwick, Scotland as G-31-969 the aircraft made its first flight on the 21st of August 1992. It was registered N969AE and on the 2nd of October 1992 it departed Prestwick, on its delivery flight to the USA where it was operated by Wings West Airlines for American Eagle. It flew its last service with Wings West Airlines on the 4th of August 1996 and was placed in storage until April 1999.

When I was preparing this post I thought the American registration N969AE sounded familiar... lo and behold, N969AE taken at Los Angeles on 8 June 1995 while waiting for my flight home.

On the ZK-RES 29th of April 1999 N969AE became ZK-RES registered to Rex Aviation (NZ) Ltd, Wellington who operated for Ansett Regional.

BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-RES with Ansett Regional arriving at Nelson on 25 June 1990

Following the collapse of Ansett New Zealand, on the 1st of September 2000 it was registered to Tasman Pacific Regional Airlines Ltd, Wellington who operated Qantas New Zealand.

BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-RES with Tasman Pacific Connection at Wellington on 15 March 2001

When it its turn Tasman Pacific collapsed it went to Origin Pacific Airways who registered it ZK-JSR on the 25th of October 2002.

BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSR with Origin Pacific at Nelson on 4 November 2003

Origin Pacific in its turn collapse and Auckland-based air charter company Air National picked it up registering ZK-ECJ on the 18th of July 2006. As well as charter services Air National operated a number of services for Air New Zealand Link using their Jetstreams. In early March 2011 Air National wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority voluntarily asking it to revoke its air operator certificate. It was revoked immediately and ZK-ECJ was registered to Vincent Aviation on the 30th of March 2011 who operated it for Air National as well as in their own right.

BAe Jetstream ZK-ECJ while registered to Vincent Aviation at Auckland 26 September 2011

On the 20th of February 2012 ZK-ECJ was registered to Airwork Flight Operations Limited who operated it as Inflite Charters. It was registered to air2there on 27 July 2017 but it was never operated on their services and has been in storage at Paraparaumu. It was registered to Originair on the 7th of August 2020 and flew to Palmerston North three weeks ago in preparation for service with Originair as, as we know now, ZK-JSJ.   

BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-ECJ in Inflite Charter colours at Tauranga on 7 November 2016