19 May 2010

NZ's Northern Most Airline... Air Kaitaia

In December 2000, Air Kaitaia, a subsidiary of Mountain Air, commenced a six month trial of a Monday to Friday air service between Kaitaia and Auckland using a Piper Aztec. Two flights were offered each day, leaving Auckland at 5.00am and 4.30pm. The return services left Kaitaia at 7.00am and 6.00pm. In June 2001 the NZ Herald noted that the trial of the service had been extended. The report also noted that a larger Britten-Norman Islander was used when demand warranted and, because of the lack of runway lights at Kaitaia, the arrival or the morning flight in Kaitaia had to be delayed until after dawn. The service was not a great success, however, and in October 2003 the company conceded defeat. The managing director, Keith McKenzie told the NZ Herald the service “was never enough to pay the bills. The company had persisted for as long as it was able to, but maintaining the service, even after reducing it from five days a week to two, became too much of a financial burden. With losses into six figures, and no sign of improvement on the horizon, the decision to pull the plug had been taken, albeit with real reluctance.”

Piper Aztec ZK-PIW with Air Kaitaia's markings at Auckland on 30 November 2000

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