09 June 2010

Origin Pacific Takes on the Big Boys... 12 years ago!

This post is another from the timetables... With the news last week that Pacific Blue’s NZ services aren’t exactly winners, while at the same time Jetstar announced that it was adding a seventh Airbus 320 for NZ domestic and trans-Tasman operations, thoughts once again go to competition on the main trunk and the question, is New Zealand really big enough to support two let alone three major airline players?
Looking back some 12 years ago this month Origin Pacific looked for a small slice of the pie. In June 1988 they commenced Auckland-Wellington-Christchurch flights using their 18–seat BAe Jetstreams. Up to this point they had only been a charter operation, however the previous month they had announced a direct service between Nelson and Palmerston. Peak time fares charged were less than half the normal fares available on Air New Zealand and Ansett New Zealand at the time. While the initial response to the airline's marketing was positive, not surprisingly, the services didn’t last long – there is a lot of difference in passenger comfort and appeal between a 737 and a Jetstream, and so Origin turned its attention to Nelson. It was later to return to the main trunk in conjunction with Qantas, and following the end of that agreement, again in its own right.

Origin Pacific's "corporate" Jetstream, ZK-JSX, at Hokitika on 31 December 1997. Photo : S Lowe


  1. I used to love the Friday night flight from WLG to AKL

    It left about 530pm ish. Would come in as Cargo and then watch them put the seats in and off we went.

    It was a SWM

  2. Yes, you are right Jason... Origin did offer Metroliner flights from Wellington to Auckland on a Friday night. By that stage, from early 1999 from what I can work from Origin's timetables, they had started services through Nelson with the Jetstreams. Metroliners were leased from Air Chathams and Airwork for both freight and passenger services.