01 August 2010

Last Flight to Tokoroa - Buckley Air

Buckley Air Limited was registered onwas the 27th of July 1993 and commenced charter operations from Ardmore in March 1995. The June edition of NZ Wings that year reported that the company had their own office in the Auckland Aero Club's No. 2 hangar with a desk at Auckland Airport. The company used Piper PA60 Aerostar 600A ZK-MVY with Partenavia P68C ZK-SMB as the backup aircraft. At that time the company offered single or two pilot IFR charters with Darren Mendoza as the Operations Manager, Brian Dodds as Chief Pilot and Maintenance Controller and Steve Opie as Deputy Chief Pilot and Check and Training Pilot.

Piper Pa60 Aerostar, ZK-MVY, at Tokoroa on 6 October 1995.

Almost two years after Pine Air had ceased operating, on the 15th of August 1995, the South Waikato News announced that Buckley Air had started direct flights from Auckland to Tokoroa. The company, seeing that Tokoroa did not have an air service, saw an opportunity. “However, the service needs to be used to be kept going”, Darren Mendoza, the Operations Manager told the newspaper. "It will only work with people using it, so it needs to be supported." To stimulate business the company offered discounted fares some 50% cheaper than the standard fare from Rotorua to Auckland. The company offered two return flights on Mondays and Fridays and a return service on Wednesdays. The company continued advertising in the local paper early in 1996 but then the service seems to have petered out.

South Waikato News, 15 August 1995

Buckley Air is the last operator that has operated a scheduled service to Tokoroa. In these days of ever cheaper fares on Air New Zealand one wonders if Tokoroa will ever have another.

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