14 August 2011

The quiet coming and going of Gulf Air

One of the more mysterious operators to Great Barrier Island was Gulf Air. There was no mention of it in the Barrier Bulletin, I could only find one reference to it in NZ Wings and some advertisements for it in the NZ Herald. I have a copy of the timetable and a photo of the aeroplane that a friend took. So who was Gulf Air?

Air Services (Coromandel) Ltd took over the commercial operations of the Mercury Bay Aero Club known as Mercury Airlines on the 1st of November 1986. Operating as Air Coromandel the company initially provided air services between Whitianga, Thames, Pauanui, Coromandel, Ardmore and Auckland.

NZ Herald, November 1988

In late 1988 Air Services (Whitianga) Ltd tried to break into the Auckland-Great Barrier Island air service market operating under the name of Gulf Air.

Gulf Air's ambitious timetable - effective 5 December 1988

Operations began on the 16th of November 1988 using a leased 12-seater GAF N22B Nomad, ZK-SNZ (c/n:104). The company’s timetable was very optimistic. Three return flights were offer on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, two on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and a single flight was offered on Sunday.

Gulf Air's GAF N22 Nomad, ZK-SNZ, taken at Auckland on 10 January 1989

There was little coverage of the launch of the new service; there was no mention of it at all in the Barrier Bulletin and a single advertisement appeared in the NZ Herald.

NZ Herald, 3 December 1988

NZ Herald

The service suffered from intense competition from existing air service operators and from fast ferry operations and was stopped in early 1989 with serious financial losses to Air Services (Whitianga) Ltd.

1 comment:

  1. I found a reference to it in some old news files, but I don't have the actual article:

    "Coromandel airline on Barrier run"
    National Business Review, 04 Nov 1988 : Page 5