15 March 2011

Au Revoir Air National - 1. Early Turbo Props

Air National was founded as E C Menzies Aviation Ltd in 1989 as a dedicated charter airline trying to find a niche in the New Zealand charter market with a variety of aircraft types. In 1992 the company moved to Auckland International Airport and renamed Air National Corporate Ltd. The first aircraft on the line was GAF N24A Nomad ZK-ECM (c/n N24A-117) which was registered to the company on the 27th of June 1990. A second GAF N24A Nomad, ZK-ECN (c/n N24A-42), was part of the fleet between June 1992 and 1997. Among other things these aircraft were used as back up for Air New Zealand Link and Ansett New Zealand.

The original Nomad, ZK-ECM, at Nelson on 26 November 1990.
The second Nomad, ZK-ECN, at Hamilton on 15 December 1993 on charter for Eagle Air.

The Nomads were also used to establish what was Air National’s only scheduled air service in its own right. On the 6th of October 1995 the company operated Auckland-Great Barrier Island flights under the name Air National Great Barrier Express. These flights continued into at least 1996.

NZ Herald 29 September 1995

Airborne from Dairy Flat is ZK-ECN on 11 March 1996 with Air National Great Barrier Express titles.

In 1994 the first Nomad, ZK-ECM, was replaced by an Embraer EMB-110P1 Bandeirante (c/n 110383) which was also registered ZK-ECM. This aircraft was available for charter and supported scheduled regional airline services for ten years before being sold in 2004.

Bandeirante ZK-ECM at Wellington on 15 October 1999 supporting regional operations for Air New Zealand Link or Ansett New Zealand.

A smaller turboprop was added to the fleet in the form of Mitsubishi MU-2B-26A ZK-ECR (c/n 371SA). A major contract this aircraft was used for was a calibration contract for the Airways Corporation of New Zealand. This involved calibration work for navaids and lights throughout New Zealand as well as in a number of South Pacific nations. This aircraft was operated between June 1995 and October 2000.

Mitsubishi Mu2 ZK-ECR in her calibration role at Christchurch on a wet and miserable 5th of August 1999.

Also used often by Air National in 1998 and 1999 was wet leased Fairchild SA227AC Metroliner III ZK-CIC (c/n AC632B).

Metroliner ZK-CIC at New Plymouth on 8 October 1999 being operated for Origin Pacific with an Air National callsign.

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