06 November 2016

FlyStark - a little boutique airline operating in paradise




UPDATED October 2017


Described on its website as a little boutique airline operating in paradise FlyStark was formed as Stark Airlines Ltd on the 12th of March 2014 by Waikato businessman Ray Stark. He had previously purchased the Mercury Bay Aero Club's Cessna 172 ZK-CWD. In 2015 he started the process to obtain Part 135 certification authorising him to fly paying passengers. This was granted in October 2015 and FlyStark was born.

FlyStark's Cessna 172 ZK-CWD at Ardmore on 15 February 2016

In October 2015 Ray Stark told The Mercury Bay Informer, “We’ll be available seven days a week at the Whitianga Airport for people to come out and go for scenic flights. We have a vehicle available at Ardmore Airport, which passengers going to Auckland can use themselves or they can be dropped off at wherever they have to be. We’ll be happy to fly anywhere our passengers want to go, including the west coast of the North Island. We’ll be targeting cruise ship passengers in Tauranga, bringing them to Whitianga for the day. We’ll also be targeting people living on Great Barrier Island to come to Whitianga for a day or a weekend and we hope to take people from Whitianga to the Barrier for a cup of coffee too. We’re also talking with local businesses like The Lost Spring about packages we can offer passengers from outside the area. Our big advantage is that we can fly whenever to wherever people want and we can do so at genuinely competitive rates.” Wally Pendray and David Terpend were employed as pilots for the new company. 

The Mercury Bay Informer, 28 October 2015
By December 2015 the company was advertising flights between Whitianga and Adrmore with a shuttle available to take passengers to Auckland International Airport or elsewhere in the city. From October 2016 the advertising a schedule of sorts was advertised with departures leaving Whitianga at 7.00am and departing Ardmore at 5.00pm.

The Mercury Bay Informer, 19 December 2015
The Mercury Bay Informer , 19 October 2016

A second Cessna 172, ZK-NPJ, was soon added to the fleet and then, in September 2016, a Gippsland GA8 Airvan, ZK-FSR, was purchased.

Prior to departure, FlyStark's Airvan ZK-FSR at Ardmore on 3 November 2016

From 1 November 2016 FlyStark introduced scheduled daily early morning flights from Great Barrier Island to the mainland, returning to the Barrier every evening. The company also announced that it was looking to code-share with Barrier Air enabling passengers to connect with each airline's flights. One of the features of the FlyStark service is that flights call in at Okiwi at no additional charge.

Barrier Bulletin, 20 October 2016

Barrier Bulletin, 3 November 2016
In December 2016 FlyStark added a second Gippsland GA8 Airvan, ZK-FSS, to its fleet. The aircraft was previously owned by Tekapo-based Air Safaris as ZK-SAF. Over the 2016-17 summer scheduled flights were flights were offered between Whitianga, Ardmore and Great Barrier Island as well as additional charter flights. 

FlyStark schedule as at February 2017 - Daily flights were offered on demand

FlyStark's scheduled services were suspended from May 2016 over the winter months. A post on the company's Facebook page said, "this is mainly due around daylight hours and winter conditions. To provide a 100 % schedule service FlyStark believes it has to have the appropriate aircraft, while our existing aircraft are the latest available they do not have the capabilities to fly in adverse weather. We are taking time to review our current fleet for the coming season. The plan at this stage is to recommence our schedule flights as of 1st September."

Gippsland Airvan ZK-FSS at Ardmore on 17 September 2017
In September 2017 the second Airvan, ZK-FSS was sold. Scheduled services had not recommenced by Labour Weekend 2017.


1 comment:

  1. I wondered what had happened to NPJ after the demise of NPAC. I did my PPL flight test in her in 2007.

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