08 April 2021

New Zealand has the strongest domestic travel market in the world


New figures released by Air New Zealand show domestic business and corporate travel has defied global trends by returning to 90% of pre-COVID levels. Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer, Leanne Geraghty, says the airline has been blown away by the swift recovery, particularly since the last alert level change. "Our initial hopes were a return to 70% next year, so to recover to near normal levels this quickly really reinforces the strength of our domestic network and the desire of Kiwis to reconnect in person." In many places around the world, such as the United States, business travel is only sitting at around 15% of domestic travel. Ms Geraghty says in response to increased demand, Air New Zealand has added more seats, more business-timed flights and bringing on more crew. "We've planned a schedule that enables business travel through increased frequency and connectivity, and are also regularly reviewing opportunities to add capacity, such as deploying our larger A321 aircraft on strongly booked flights. "We've also reduced our top-class fares, meaning customers booking at short notice will pay up to $100 less per seat. "New Zealand has the strongest domestic travel market in the world at the moment, and this is just another way Air New Zealand is doing everything we can to keep Kiwis connected." Group Managing Director of Mainfreight, Don Braid says "Although online meetings offered a practical solution, there's no getting away from how good face-to-face meetings are. Our team works closely with our customers to manage their supply chains, and the personal connection is an important part of maintaining strong working relationships. "It has also been a delight to have our people together for our annual sales and branch manager meetings here in New Zealand; something our business has been unable to achieve in our offshore locations."

Source : https://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/press-release-2021-business-travellers-return-to-the-skies-in-record-numbers

SLA Heads Home


Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SLA, which has been on lease to Barrier Air, is at this heading home to Queenstown-based True South in time for the opening up of the trans-Tasman bubble. The Caravan was used by Barrier Air who have had a busy summer and it was used to expand Barrier Air's North Shore-Great Barrier Island service. The airline is obviously been happy with the North Shore service and are maintaining a daily service.

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SLA at Great Barrier Island on 20 January 2021

07 April 2021

A regular visitor

Air Chathams' Saabs are regular visitor into Hamilton and Palmerston North these days. It seems they have a contract for flying workers to a project in Central Otago. It certainly adds a little flavour to plane spotting in Hamilton.

Meanwhile, the Air Chathams Facebook page yesterday said, Watch this space for an announcement about the reopening of flights to Norfolk Island so that is good news for the airline.Meanwhile their reservations system shows the weekly Friday flights from 6 August 2021

Saab 340 ZK-CIY arrives at Hamilton on 7 April 2021


06 April 2021

Sunair's Winter Schedule


Sunair have issued their winter 2021 timetable. As has been the norm the frequency reduces over winter. Flights from Gisborne and Whangarei to and from Hamilton and Tauranga are reduced to three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while the flights between Whangarei or Hamilton to and from Great Barrier Island are offered on Fridays and Sundays only. Flights from Tauranga and Whitianga to and from Great Barrier Island operate four days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

05 April 2021

New Zealand's Northern Most Flyer

Barrier Air has had a busy Easter weekend on its flights between both Auckland and North Shore to and from Great Barrier Airline. The airline is continuing to use leased Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SLA, Barrier Air is also operating full pre-Covid flights from Auckland to Kaitaia with 13 flights per week 

In service with Barrier Air - Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SLA at Auckland on 5 April 2021 


04 April 2021

I hate seeing a plane in bits

Cessna 421 Golden Eagle ZK-WLG was withdrawn from the register in June 2017 but I was none the wiser of what happened to it. Thank to Alex who sent in these recent pics of it at the Parakai/West Auckland Airport...

ZK-WLG was a 1978 model Cessna 421 Golden Eagle, initially registered N8438N. It went to Australia where it was registered VH-BRN on the 22nd of June 1978. It was placed on the New Zealand register as ZK-WLG on the 29th of April 1983 and its New Zealand ownership changes follow;

29/04/1983 Avdev Air Ltd, Wellington

31/05/1993 Airwork (NZ) Ltd, Auckland

15/04/1996 B.A. & S.J. Painter, Hillsborough, Auckland

15/07/1998 Albert Smith Industries Ltd, Mount Maunganui

01/04/1999 Sunair Aviation Ltd, Mount Maunganui

18/06/2008 Flight Care Ltd, Napier, Hawkes Bay

22/06/2017 Registration cancelled - withdrawn

Originally operated by Capital Aviation it only saw brief service airline service, being chartered by Air Nelson when they were waiting for their Metroliners to arrive and when owned by Sunair who used it also on Origin Pacific services connecting Tauranga with Origin's flights at Hamilton.

Cessna 421 Golden Eagle ZK-WLG at Hokitika on 16 July 1983

Getting a repaint... ZK-WLG at Christchurch on 19 October 1986

On the campaign trail... Cessna 421 carried National party leadership to Timaru on 4 August 1987

Back in Timaru in November 1988 operating an Air Nelson service prior to the introduction of the Metroliners

The Cessna 421 Golden Eagle, ZK-WLG taken at Tauranga on the 23rd of January 2002. 

02 April 2021

Air Services To Tauranga - Index of Posts

The following is a list of operators that have flown to Tauranga and links to my profiles on their operation. As always I love to receive corrections, more information and photos to update these posts... Steve - westland831@gmail.com






No post written





1986-ca 2000



No post written - Any information would be appreciated

Post written - To be published 2021



Post not written




Post written - To be published 2021

Post written - To be published 2021


No post written


No post written


27 March 2021

On Demand Only


Air Kaikoura's twice weekly air service between Kaikoura and Wellington has dropped to an "on demand only" service.

Air Kaikoura started the service on the 15th of May 2020 with Austen Lee flying the first service in Gippsland Airvan, ZK-EHS. Air Kaikoura had started the service to help boost the district's economy in the light of Covid's impact on the town's tourist economy.

Air Kaikoura manager Murray Hamilton told 3rd Level NZ the on demand service is operating "probably every third or so and usually in the Cessna 172. Kaikoura is a pretty small pool to pull from."  

Air Kaikoura is a real supporter of its local community. This is the second time it was wanted to connect the Marlborough town to the rest of New Zealand. After the Kaikoura earthquake it ran an air service to Parikawa. Meanwhile, Air Kaikoura continues to operate its training and whale spotting flights.  

25 March 2021

The 3rd Jetstream IS ZK-ECJ

In the air today, for the first time in a few years, was BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-ECJ, flying from Paraparaumu, where it has been in storage, to Palmerston North. It looks like it will get a makeover in Palmerston North for service with Originair.


22 March 2021

Another BN Islander


Thanks to Lawrence Ackett who has added to my list of BN Islanders that have operated on regular services in New Zealand.

Lawrence wrote, 

I have, in my logbook photo, album ZK-KHB and know I would have flown in that either to/from AKL-GBI with GBA. Unfortunately way back then I didn't record dates times etc so don't recall the actual time but do recall logging it as another Islander I had flown in. It would have been part of my travels working for Post office- Telecom possibly late 80s early 90s. Do you have any data if GBA leased this machine. I don't see it in the latest listing. My photo shows it in ex Cook Islands Air??? colours with Parakai written on it and photo taken at Parakai.

I was able to reply thar on 29/04/1993, after its service with Cook Island Air, ZK-KHB was registered to Air Ventures Ltd, Helensville, Auckland. On 15/11/1993 its NZ registration was cancelled.

On the West Auckland Airport sight it looks as if KHB was used for skydiving!

This enabled Lawrence to find look in his records in a more focussed way... He wrote, I have since found I have a record of the flight. 27 July 1993 Claris to Mangere via Okiwi on a Great Barrier Airlines ticket. Was a same day return trip for work and flew over in the morning in ZK-CUV.

Attached a photo of the photo at Parakai. It may have been a last minute call by GBA if an aircraft went u/s or on maintenance perhaps.

Anyway guess that adds to the Islander kaleidoscope of airliners?

It sure does! Thanks Lawrence

I wonder if there are any ex Great Barrier Airlines staff that might have some more information as to how much it was used.

Sad News from Mountain Air


Mountain Air have just put this post on their Facebook page...

It is with regret that we have to advise that Mountain Air, is permanently closing down. Our last day of operations will be March 29th, 2021.

We wish to thank so many of you for the support we have received going back as far as 1988 when Keith and Robyn McKenzie started the business. Since purchasing it in 2007, we have seen the pre GFC growth, the slump through the GFC and then a great resurgence until March last year when we were all hit by the Covid-19 Pandemic. While our small business has not survived this, we know we are just one of many who have suffered badly through this crisis and our heartfelt thoughts go out to all of you in the tourism industry who are still struggling to survive.

To Everyone who can make it in for a flight before we close we look forward to seeing you and giving one last look at our beautiful mountains! 

Kind regards

The Mountain Air Team

My profile on Mountain Air, which largely focussed on the airline side of the business can be found here http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2011/11/mountain-air-friendly-connection.html

18 March 2021

Expanding Routes and New Aircraft


I see on their Facebook page Fly My Sky is looking for 2-3 pilots to join our growing team as we expand routes and add new aircraft.

Interesting development...

Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-PIZ about depart on a service to Great Barrier Island on 13 March 2021

So another to stretch the memory banks, what airlines have operated BN Islanders on regular services in New Zealand

Double Flights Delayed


According to Originair's schedule twice daily flights between Hamilton and Palmerston were to commence on the 28th of March 2021 after the arrival of a third Jetstream. From the reservations system the start date seems to have been delayed until the 3rd of May with the twice daily flights only operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. By then what was a relatively busy route for Air New Zealand will not have been operated for 13 months so Originair will have a job to lure business passengers back to it. It still, in my opinion, needs to improve the proposed schedule.

16 March 2021

Jetting through Auckland

Jetting in and out of Auckland on 13 March 2021 were...

Airbus 330-300 DQ-FJW was about to depart for Nadi

Gulfstream Aerospace GVII-G600 M-AMBA arrived from Nelson

Boeing 787-9 ZK-NZE was operating NZ1082 to Christchurch and Guangzhou

Olympus Airways' Boeing 757-200 SX-APX was operating Airwork 1 to Sydney 

while Tasman Cargo Airlines' Boeing 767-300 VH-EXZ was operating Tasman 2 from Sydney

Jetstar Airbus VH-VGO was operating JQ269 to Dunedin

Jetstar Airbus VH-VGP was operating JQ261 to Wellington