31 October 2012

Salt Air Service Ends Today

Salt Air flies its last Kerikeri-Whangarei-Auckland air service today. The company started the service in 2008 for business commuters and for tourists to the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga using Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-MJL and Gippsland Airvan ZK-MAB. Passengers were transported between Noth Shore Airport and the Auckland CBD by shuttle bus using the North Shore busway. In announcing the sale of the service to North Sbore-based Flight Hauraki chief executive Grant Harnish told the Northern Advocate that "he now wants to streamline the operation and concentrate on the tourism-based services. The scheduled services only generate only about 20 per cent of our operational income but take 80 per cent of our time to run. It's been a very successful concept and certainly put us on the map but it's the right time for someone else to pick it up and run with it. "We are a very small company and we don't have the ability to run a base in Auckland which is really needed to take the market to the next stage."
Flight Hauraki takes over the service tomorrow.
Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-MJL taken at North Shore on 26 September 2008. Photo : S Lowe
I flew on both the Salt Air aircraft - this from the Caravan
The Gippsland Airvan arriving at North Shore on 23 October 2012. Photo : S Lowe

29 October 2012

Widgeon to Waddle Again?

Wayne Grant captured these pics of an unidentified Grumman Widgeon. Wayne’s research seems to indicate it is ZK-CHG rather than ZK-AVM which is also currently under rebuild

There are pics of CHG in service in the following posts. I am certainly looking forward to seeing a Widgeon airborne again – and wouldn’t it be great to see one operating again from Mechanics Bay!

Tourist Air Travel

Mount Cook Airlines

Sea Bee Air

28 October 2012

Flight Hauraki

Flight Hauraki Limited was established by Paul McSherry on the 17th of March 2008. Flight Hauraki was an associate company of MDR Aviation Ltd whose activities centred upon importing and leasing out aircraft and MDR Aviation Ltd was the actual owner of all the aircraft. Included amongst these imports were Cessna 152's, ZK-MDK, which was with Flight Training Manawatu for a couple of years and Paul McSherry’s favourite Cessna A152 Aerobat ZK-MDO with a full Sparrowhawk and tail wheel conversion which was with Ivan Krippner at Southern Lakes Learn to Fly, Wanaka.

In early 2010 Flight Hauraki established a charter and scenic flight service from North Shore Airport. The company established an office in Salt Air’s terminal at North Shore Airport and began operations with two Cessna 172 Superhawks, ZK-MDR (c/n 17268885) and ZK-MDV (c/n 17273249), and Cessna 207 ZK-MDZ (c/n 20700171) all of which were painted in Flight Hauraki colours. The two upgraded 'Superhawk' spec Cessna 172s have had Lycoming 0-360 engine upgrades from Air Plains, Kansas. This gives the aircraft enhanced strip and climb performance, much increased cruise speed and maximum useful loads of around 1000lbs each. ZK-MDR was on leased to Glenorchy Air until late 2012.

Before being leased to Glenorchy Air Cessna 172N Superhawk ZK-MDR at North Shore on 6 March 2010
In March 2012 Flight Hauraki took over management of Waiheke Island based Air Discovery's scenic flight business, including their transfer flights between Waiheke Island and Auckland International Airport and Great Barrier Island.

Cessna 172 ZK-MDV arrives in front of the North Shore Aero Club rooms prior to flying the afternoon service to Kerikeri on 31 December 2013

Further expansion came for the company on the 1st of November 2012 when the company took over Salt Air’s Kerikeri-Whangarei-North Shore air service. This service, established in May 2008, saw Salt Air aircraft flying twice daily return weekday services and a Sunday service from Kerikeri and Whangarei to North Shore with a shuttle bus taking passengers to and from the Auckland CBD via the Busway. This meant Whangarei passengers could get to the Auckland city centre in about an hour.

"North Shore Traffic, Mike Delta Zulu rolling 03" - Cessna ZK-MDZ at North Shore on 14 March 2012. Photo : S Lowe

The most significant change of Flight Hauraki the takeover was that the service became North Shore-based necessitating changes to the timetable with northbound flights leaving North Shore earlier and southbound flights from Kerikeri and Whangarei leaving later. The initial weekday timetable has flights departing from North Shore for Whangarei and Kerikeri at 7.00am and 4.45pm with the return flights leaving Kerikeri at 8.15am and 6.00pm and Whangarei at 8.45am and 6.30pm. 

North Shore - Whangarei - Kerikeri service, effective 1 November 2012

On the 16th of November 2012 the company introduced a second scheduled service. The new service operates on Mondays and Fridays with aircraft flying from North Shore to Waiheke Island and then on to Great Barrier Island with the aircraft leaving North Shore at 11.00 am and returning by 1.00 pm.

North Shore - Waiheke - Great Barrier timetable, effective 16 November 2012 
The twice weekly service to Waiheke and Great Barrier Island failed to generate much traffic and mention of the service was withdrawn from the company's website soon after its launch. The Kerikeri and Whangarei service also failed to generate sufficient patronage and this service was also withdrawn, the last flight being operated on the 12th of February 2013.

For a photo essay on a FlightHauraki service between North Shore and Whangarei see :

In October 2014 the company moved its main base at North Shore airport and satellite base on Waiheke Island to having their main base on Waiheke Island and satellite base at Ardmore where it uses Dennis Thompson International's premises.

In mid-December 2014 Flight Hauraki started an 'Island Hopper' service offering two return flights daily on the Ardmore-Waiheke-Great Barrier Island route using Claris airfield on Great Barrier Island and Okiwi on demand. The company also does many Ardmore-Waiheke hops every day with aircraft based at each location. Auckland Airport remains a semi-popular connection through Waiheke hotels on a charter basis working through SkyCare. The company was using Cessna 172 ZK-MDV, Cessna 206 ZK-JCB and Cessna 207 ZK-MDZ at this time and flights operated until Easter 2015.

Cessna 206 ZK-JCB and Cessna 172 ZK-MDV at Waiheke Island

From Labour weekend 2015 the airline again offered flights from Waiheke Island to Great Barrier Island as well as shuttle flights to Auckland International Airport. In November 2015 Paul McSherry sold his shareholding in the company to the New Zealand Aviation Group Ltd. This company has set to developing the charter market especially with inbound Chinese tourists.

In 2016 two additional aircraft were added to the fleet, Piper PA28-181 Archer ZK-EBX (c/n 28-7790242) and Piper PA31-310 Navajo ZK-JGA (c/n 31-7612102). By March 2017 the Archer and the Cessna 207 ZK-MDZ were offered for sale.

Piper PA28 Archer ZK-EBX for sale in FlightHauraki. Photo taken at Ardmore on 10 March 2017

Piper PA31 Navajo ZK-JGA in FlightHauraki markings at Ardmore on 24 March 2017

Over the 2016/17 summer FlightHauraki continued to offer on-demand scheduled services from Ardmore to Waiheke and Great Barrier Islands as well as between Waiheke and Great Barrier Islands.

FlightHauraki's timetables for the 2016/17 summer

FlightHauraki's Cessna 172 ZK-MDV and Cessna 207 off on a charter from Ardmore on 7 January 2017

On the 25th of May 2017 Flight Hauraki Ltd became Air Auckland Ltd but the company continued to operate as FlightHauraki until May 2018 when it was rebranded as Air Auckland. About this time the air service to Waiheke Island ceased.

27 October 2012

Last time out at Ardmore

These are a selection of photos from my last visit to Ardmore at the beginning of the month. Fine weather on my day off would be nice :-)

X Flight's Extra EA 300/L was going out on a mission... Photo taken at Ardmore on 7 October 2012 by S Lowe

Caught on finals was Tecnam P2006T ZK-MTW. Photo taken at Ardmore on 7 October 2012 by S Lowe

Camera ship for a photo shoot of the Mosquito ZK-MOS (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/10/magical-mosquito.html) was North American T-28C Trojan ZK-JGS. Photo taken at Ardmore on 7 October 2012 by S Lowe

An evil machine... Piper Tomahawk ZK-EVL at Ardmore on 7 October 2012. Photo : S Lowe

A new generation of trainer, the Auckland Aero Club's Cessna 162 Skycatcher ZK-AAC at Ardmore on 7 October 2012. Photo : S Lowe

26 October 2012

Would CAA and OSH allow this???

Check out both video clips...


“Read our lips” message to airports

Air New Zealand is reducing capacity into Gisborne as a result of the local airport’s decision to increase landing fees by 106% from 01 DEC. Group GM Australasia Bruce Parton says many of the Gisborne services are already marginal from a financial perspective and the decision of the local airport to place a further cost burden on the airline and its customers will make some services unsustainable in future. “While Gisborne is an important route on the Air New Zealand regional network, we have been struggling to break even on many of our services for a considerable time. Gisborne Airport’s decision to increase user charges by 106% from 1 December means we will have to increase fares by an average of $8 per return journey. This will the have the impact of reducing tourist numbers and will see some services become uneconomic. As a result we will reduce capacity from Wellington and Auckland to Gisborne,” Mr Parton says. “Sadly, Gisborne Airport plans further airport user charge increases of 5% in each of the next two years. This will make Gisborne one of the most expensive domestic airports Air New Zealand flies to.” Mr Parton says Air New Zealand has been actively engaged in discussion with Gisborne Airport over concerns that the increases will force tourists away.

25 October 2012

PPQ service is 1 today

Air New Zealand Link's Paraparaumu service is one year old today. The service began operating with Bomardier Q300s on the 25th of October 2012. Air Nelson continue to operate 16 services a week to Paraparaumu.

For more on the launch of the service last year see : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2011/10/paraparaumu-auckland-service-starts.html

Bombardier Q300 ZK-NES at Paraparaumu on the first day of services on 25 October 2012. Photo : S Lowe

25 years ago - October 1987 - Exercise Wise Owl

On Saturday 24 October 1987 Exercise Wise Owl had an open day at Queenstown, hence a number of Airtrainers...


Fokker Friendship NZ2781 at Queenstown on 24 October 1987

Beill Iroquois NZ3807 at Queenstown on 24 October 1987

24 October 2012

25 years ago - October 1987 - more from Queenstown

Champion 7GCBC Citabria ZK-CRH - Photo taken at Queenstown on 24 October 1987 by S Lowe

The South Otago Aero Club's Piper Pa28 Cherokee 140 ZK-CUW at Queenstown on 24 October 1987. Photo : S Lowe

A classic Piper Pa28 Cherokee 140 ZK-DIQ - Photo taken at Queenstown on 24 October 1987 by S Lowe

Grunty Piper Pa28 Cherokee 235 ZK-DGK - Photo taken at Queenstown on 24 October 1987 by S Lowe

Jodel D11 ZK-RSB, Photo taken at Queenstown on 24 October 1987 by S Lowe

23 October 2012

Taupo a couple of weeks ago...

Cessna O-1F Bird Dog ZK-NAM taken at Taupo on 11 October 2012 by S Lowe

Skydive Taupo's Pacific Aerospace 750XL ZK-SDT taxiing on another bombing exercise. Photo taken at Taupo on 11 October 2012 by S Lowe

Robin R-3000-160 taken at Taupo on 11 October 2012 by S Lowe

Cessna 172 ZK-ZZC at Taupo. Photo taken on 11 October 2012 by S Lowe