20 November 2011

The Islander – Fly My Sky


This post on Fly My Sky constitutes the latest chapter in the airline that began as Mountain Air: see... http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2011/11/mountain-air-friendly-connection.html

Keith and Robyn McKenzie registered Fly My Sky Ltd as a company on the 11th of April 2007 but it was not until May 2008 that Mountain Air was rebranded as Fly My Sky. 

At that time the company was operating a Hughes 500D, ZK-HNT, from its base at Taumarunui and four Britten-Norman Islanders, ZK-DLA, ZK-PIY, ZK-PIZ and ZK-SFK based in Auckland. The Islanders were used primarily on the scheduled service between Auckland and Great Barrier Island flying to Claris airport and, on-demand to Okiwi airfield. Following the rebranding the aircraft were gradually painted in Fly My Sky’s new colour scheme with the last Islander, ZK-PIZ, being repainted in early 2011.

Fly My Sky check in at Auckland International
BN Islander ZK-SFK on the taxi at Auckland for a flight to Great Barrier Island on 12 May 2013.
Fly My Sky's Hughes 500D ZK-HNT kicking up the dust at Taupo on 14 February 2013

The last of the Islander fleet to be rebranded was ZK-PIZ. It is seen here (above) at Auckland on 1 March 2009. It was finally repainted in Fly My Sky colours in early 2011. It is pictured as such (below) on approach to Auckland on 24 October 2011.

At the time Fly My Sky was launched the company was also operating an Auckland to Whangarei service. This was primarily a freight flight but which also carried passengers. The flight left Auckland at 5.55pm in the evening with the return flight leaving Whangarei at 7.10pm. This service, like a number of such NZ Post courier flights throughout New Zealand, was cut at the end of 2008 as a casualty of the economic recession.

Fly My Sky timetable, Winter 2008. The weekday freight flight to Whangarei is shown. 

Another important source of revenue for Fly My Sky is using their Britten-Norman Islander ZK-PIY for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Parachute Training and Support Unit out of the RNZAF base at Whenuapai. The company first started doing this work in 2004 and it continues today.

Above, ZK-PIY returns to Ardmore in its parachuting configuration on 2 November 2010. 

The mainstay of the Fly My Sky operation remains the air service to Great Barrier Island. The company flies three flights a day to the Barrier with additional scheduled flights in summer but also the flexibility to add additional flights all year around. The Barrier service is important not only for passengers but also for freight with all manner of goods being flown. The company also offers special “banana box” rates for Great Barrier Islanders to fly their groceries to the island.

The passengers have disembarked and uplifted their luggage. Now the freight is brought in... today, tyres and boxes of wine were carried. Photo taken at Great Barrier Island's Claris airport on 5 September 2011.
ZK-DLA at Claris again, this time arriving from Auckland on 6 September 2011.

BN Islander ZK-DLA was written off following a heavy landing at Okiwi on 24 January 2013. Fly My Sky eventually acquired Britten Norman BN2A-26 Islander ZK-EVO (c/n 785) to replace ZK-DLA in December 2014.

Still wearing Aspiring Air colours though with a small Fly My Sky logo at the rear of the fuselage BN Islander ZK-EVO heads off to the Barrier on 10 August 2015
Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-EVO in a revised scheme at Auckland on 30 December 2018

BN Islander ZK-PIY wearing a special Fly My "Dark" Sky colour scheme acknowledging Great Barrier Island becoming the world's third Dark Sky sanctuary. Photo taken at Auckland on 10 September 2017

Fly My Sky's helicopter operations from Taumarunui ended in February 2017 when Hughes 500D ZK-HNT was sold. 

On the 29th of October 2018 Fly My Sky introduced scheduled flights between Auckland and Whangārei using their Britten Norman Islander aircraft. The first flight to Whangārei, FS3069, was operated in Islander ZK-SFK. The only passengers were Whangārei MP Dr Shane Reti and the airline's chief executive and co-owner Keith McKenzie. Keith McKenzie said, "Our company has considered the possibility of expanding into other areas for some time and Whangārei presented the best opportunity for us with the aircraft we currently operate." The southbound flight carried the first fare paying passenger.

The scheduled flights operate return journeys twice daily, Monday to Friday. Fly My Sky's General Manager, Grant Bacon, said that the introduction of the scheduled flights will give customers more choice and flexibility of travel time between the two cities.

Fly My Sky Whangarei schedule effective 29 October 2018

My attempt to try the Whangārei service. Boarding BN Islander ZK-SFK at Auckland on 17 December 2018. It was a beautiful day at Whangārei but unfortunately there was fog, which wasn't clearing sitting right over the airfield so we returned to Auckland.
Fly My Sky's Whangārei check in counter

The service struggled to attract many passengers and by mid 2019 a number of service with no passengers were cancelled. The final flight to Whangārei operated on Thursday the 20th of June with BN Islander ZK-SFK (callsign ISLAND 2 KILO) flying the afternoon service to Whangārei and return.

Fly My Sky BN Islander ZK-PIY with the stars removed taken at Great Barrier Island on 8 April 2019

From the 18th of November 2019 Fly My Sky offered package deals from Auckland to Hobbiton. Fly My Sky BN Islanders would fly passengers from Auckland to Matamata whereupon they are met by a shuttle and taken to Hobbiton for the tour before being returned to Matamata's Waharoa airfield for the return flight to Auckland. The return package costs $399 for the return fare including flight, shuttle and tour. There was no real uptake on the this services, though a few flights were operated.  

The Matamata schedule effective 18 December 2019
Fly My Sky BN Islander ZK-EVO arriving at Matamata on 9 January 2020

Fly My Sky BN Islander ZK-SFK departing Matamata on 18 January 2020

On the 20th of March 2020 Commercial Helicopters Ltd, the company that operates Fly My Sky, was sold. The Companies Register show that the new owners as Christine and Scott Young who are were the owners of Embraer 820 ZK-DSY. This was registered to Commercial Helicopters Ltd on the 30th of July 2020 but it has never flown for Fly My Sky.

Unfortunately for the new owner a few days later New Zealand was locked down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. As it was flying to Great Barrier Island Fly My Sky was considered an essential service and it operated freight flights throughout the lockdown. The Matamata Hobbiton service, however, was struck down by lockdown and was withdrawn. Following lockdown Fly My Sky quietly rebuilt its services to Great Barrier Island in respond to the demand.

On the 14th of September 2020 Fly My Sky introduced new flights between Great Barrier Island and North Shore. The first flight was operated in BN Islander ZK-SFK. Initially Monday to Saturday morning flights were introduced. These leave Great Barrier Island at 8.30am to arrive at North Shore at 9.00am. The return service departs North Shore at 10.00am to arrive at Great Barrier Island at 10.30am.  From the 2nd of October a second service was operated with Sunday to Friday afternoon flights that leave Great Barrier Island at 4.00pm to arrive at North Shore at 4.30pm. The return service leaves North Shore at 5.30pm to arrive at Great Barrier Island at 6.00pm. 

Fly My Sky BN Islander ZK-SFK at North Shore on a scheduled service to Great Barrier Island at Claris on 2 October 2020

Commercial Helicopters Ltd, the company that operated Fly My Sky, was placed in liquidation on the 29th of June 2021 causing the airline to cease operating. Fly My Sky's final services were operated by BN Islander ZK-SFK (ISLAND 2 KILO) from Auckland to Claris (FS15) and return (FS9015) on the same afternoon. So ended 23 years of servicing Great Barrier Island, from 1998 to 2008 as Mountain Air and from 2008 as Fly My Sky.

A sad view of the airline's webpage on 30 June 2021 

Subsequent reporting by the liquidators revealed Fly My Sky appeared insolvent when liquidators were appointed. The report said the company had assets worth about $168,000 and creditors were owed $838,144, of which $801,334 was to unsecured creditors. The four BN Islanders were leased. In an email from Fly My Sky to booked passengers detailing the liquidation the company said, “This decision was not taken lightly and every effort to save the business has been expended. The management of Fly My Sky extends their sincerest apologies for this situation that just simply could not be avoided and we thank you for support in the past.” The liquidators’ report said the company was operating in a tight market with a competitor airline flying the same route, the report said. “Due to restricted numbers of tourists and movement between Auckland and Great Barrier Island, mainly because of the Covid-19 restrictions, the operation became marginal and its profitability was severely impaired. Reduced forward booking projections, rising costs and low pricing elasticity, together with increased maintenance requirements, made the operation unviable and the shareholders, faced with the need to inject additional capital, took professional advice and elected to place the company into liquidation.” 


  1. The Youngs took our booking and our money on the 28th June and sent an email confirming flights on 29th at 1245 going into voluntary liquidation less than 6 hours later with no notification to us. Very poor business practice. No wonder they have gone under and deserve to do so.

  2. That might be a bit unfair... They took over Fly My Sky and a few days were in lockdown. They have worked hard but I suspect they were continuing to work hard. But in the it is the creditors and the bank that call the shots