28 July 2010

Air Nelson to Greymouth... the service that never got airborne

This post is a postscript to the two posts on Coast Air...

Towards the end of Coast Air’s services to Greymouth Air Nelson announced, not only a formalising of ties with Eagle Air, but also a November expansion into the West Coast with flights from Nelson to Westport, and Greymouth route which were designed to link up with other Air Nelson and Eagle Air services. Robert Inglis told the Nelson Evening Mail on the 16th of July 1988, “There is no scheduled Nelson-West Coast service at present and a need for one had been identified.” The service was timetabled to fly from Wellington to Nelson, Westport and Greymouth in the morning and back along the same route in the afternoon using a 7 seat Piper Navajo,. Robert Inglis told the Greymouth Evening Star on the 19th “that the route should complement the services of Coast Air, which flies between Greymouth and Christchurch. He said the service would primarily advantage Wellington, Nelson and Palmerston North passengers who wanted to travel to the West Coast and return in a day.” Interestingly he also said “negotiations between Air Nelson and Coast Air have been going on for some time, but he said he was not prepared to disclose the nature of these negotiations.”

The Westport and Greymouth service featured in the timetable of 1 August 1988

While the service appeared in Air Nelson’s timetable it never got airborne as on the 16th of September an announcement was made that Air New Zealand had bought a half share in Air Nelson and was handing over a number of routes to Air Nelson the following month. These included Air Nelson operating a twice-daily service to Wellington and a daily flight to Nelson and 19 flights a week between Christchurch and Hokitika with Fairchild Metroliner aircraft.
The Navajo and Chieftain aircraft were used on regular schedules to Westport but never to Hokitika. However on the 26th of November 1989 Chieftains ZK-NSO and NSP were used on the Christchurch-Hokitika-Christchurch services after a Metro broke down. Photo : S Lowe

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