07 December 2014

Manapouri Air Service

To all those who have supported our operation to fly the Dominie 1943 aeroplane over the lake and the mountains, we would like to express a sincere thank you, and feel we owe an explanation as to why we have not yet recommenced the operation this season. It is not just the weather. The owners of the beautifully restored plane quite justifiably insist that it always be protected from the elements: this has been part of our agreement since the commencement of operation in October 2013. Last season we had access to one of the existing hangars at the airport for which we are most grateful. Knowing that this would not always be available, we launched a process 12 months ago to build our own hangar at the airport to house the Dominie and also the Airscapade DC3 which is presently safe up against and sound in Blenheim awaiting certain necessary technical adaptations. We have however come up against the wall of a commercial monopoly on the land at the airport and considerable council bureaucracy in dealing with that monopoly, and we are still fighting to get over these hurdles. It is not commercially viable operating the plane from its home near Gore and although we hope to be able to do the occasional flight by going an getting the plane when there is a good spell of weather, it will not be until the issue is resolved that we will be able to provide the aviation adventure of last season regularly. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we work through this.

DH Dominie ZK-AKY at Manapouri. Photo : https://www.facebook.com/AirscapadeAffairs

On a slightly lighter note, while we have you on the line, we are looking at trialing a limited season of 12 flights between Christchurch and Te Anau with our partners Air Chathams, once a week from mid-December to mid-March. This would be a flight of somewhere between 1 and 2 hours depending on the plane used, with an expected cost of $300 one way or $500 return. (It could be with their DC3 but this may not be technically viable, as the DC3, not pressurised, cannot fly above the weather). We would like to take this opportunity to ask you of Fiordland/Southland if you would personally be interested in flying this route in order to ascertain potential numbers. If you think you could be interested in flying, please write asap to info@airscapade-affairs.com with dates that would suit you best and numbers of passengers. We will then see whether we cannot organise something and get our lovely little airport working a bit more. Remember, parking there is free!

Douglas DC-3 N451ZS at Christchurch on 22 May 2013

Source : Fiordland Advocate, 20 November 2014