22 August 2010

Local Support

Air Nelson, as part of the Air NZ group of airline's, has been an active supporter of local rugby through the Air NZ sponsored National Provencial Championship series held each year through until just recently when the deal changed hands to ITM.

As part of this sponsorship, Link carrier's Air Nelson and Mt Cook were engaged in the massive task of moving teams from one district to another with oddball city pairings such as Gisborne to Wesport or Timaru to Wanganui. Often two teams would be carried (on an ATR) with one team being bussed to their venue and then vice versa when the games had been played. Most flights took part on Friday's and the teams returned home either late Saturday after their games or early Sunday morning, as schedules allowed considering no 'fare paying' passengers travelled on this pseudo charter flights.

During 1997, Air Nelson decked out Saab 340A ZK-NSL with all the rugby jersey's of the teams participating in the NPC that year and it entered service as NZ8102 from Nelson direct to Hamilton on 16 August. The aircraft retained these decals until the aircraft terminated its lease to Air Nelson in December 1997.

Departing Nelson 16 August 1997, Mike Condon photo

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