07 July 2010

Pre-History of Akarana Air

Bruce Gavin has e-mailed more details of pre-history of Akarana Air...


Vince Kean, either individually or through his company J.V.M. Kean Ltd, was an Auckland businessman who operated a shipping agency for shipping companies including the Columbus Line. Other companies he was associated included Transair Leasing, Air Contracts (1969) Ltd and Maritime Services Ltd. He developed several interests in aerial topdressing, the importation of the Transavia PL12 Airtruk as well as air transport operations.

After Tasman Air Services Ltd was wound up on 28 May 1970 J.V.M. Kean Ltd was successful in getting Licence No 492 transferred to itself in Trust with an amendment, which allowed the change of aircraft from the Piper Navajo to a smaller Piper Twin Comanche. In the event the Piper Twin Comanche was never used and for the next 18 months efforts were made to amalgamate the operations of Auckland Air Charter Ltd (the commercial twin engine operations of the Auckland Aero Club), which held Licence No. 618. This licence permitted air charter and air taxi services from Ardmore, Auckland International Airport and Kinleith with one Cessna 310G (ZK-CFG which was leased) and one Cessna 336 (ZK-CGF). Auckland Air Charter Ltd had started operations in June 1970 but by early 1972 was defunct and the two aircraft were out of operation.

On 29 February 1972 the Air Services Licensing Authority held a Public Inquiry in Auckland to examine the situation regarding the provision of twin-engine air services in Auckland. With the breakdown in negotiations between J.V.M. Kean Ltd and Auckland Air Charter Ltd Vince Kean had been in negotiations with Mr G.H. Vetch who had imported a Piper PA-23 Aztec aircraft into New Zealand and it was being prepared for commercial operations to enable the operation of Licence No.492. Consequently the Air Services Licensing Authority allowed the continuation of J.V.M. Kean Ltd holding Licence No. 492 in trust but cancelled Auckland Air Charter’s Air Services Licence No.618.
By May 1972 the new company, which was named Air Columbus Ltd, was ready to apply for the transfer of the Licence along with a change of aircraft from one Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche to one Piper PA-23 Aztec. The shareholders were:

J.V.M. Kean 4,000 shares
G.H. Vetch 20,000 shares
E.I. Reardon 3,000 shares
J.J. McVicar 5,000 shares

TOTAL 32,000 shares

The company operated through Maritime Services Ltd, which had a travel agency as part of their Customs Street premises in Auckland, maintenance was carried out by Airwork (NZ) Ltd, and initially E.I. (Ivan) Reardon was the company’s only full time employee. W.W. ‘Bill’ Rayner the chief financial officer of Maritime Services Ltd gave considerable assistance in getting financial matters sorted out.

The company’s name was quickly changed to Akarana Air Ltd and the company flourished for some years operating a number of twin-engine aircraft, some leased short or long-term periods. [SEE http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2010/07/who-was-akarana-air.html]

  •  ‘Journal of the Aviation Historical Society of New Zealand’- various issues
  • Archives New Zealand- various files
(Compiled by F.B. Gavin July 2010)

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