25 May 2017

Potential Air Route Number 4

There is not a lot happening in the regional airline scene at moment and so I have been doing a bit of day dreaming and have had a few thoughts on potential new air routes for our regional airlines...

Suggested Route : Palmerston North-New Plymouth

Suggested Operator : Sunair

Rationale :
This is not a route I would have thought of... but yesterday I was flying Hamilton-Palmerston North-Wellington and there were passengers transhipping from Palmerston North to New Plymouth... Inter-regional flying is still happening but it is all via Auckland and Wellington at present. Recently I was on a flight to Gisborne and heard a couple of passengers talking about the potential for Gisborne to get connections to Napier and other North Island centres. 

So what routes are there? New Plymouth-Hamilton and Gisborne-Napier-Palmerston North, Napier-Hamilton and maybe Palmerston North-Rotorua-Tauranga. The airline could perhaps be called Air Central! 

Previous Operators on Route :

Air Central
Air Central Mitsubishi Mu2s at Tauranga on 25 November 1982
Eagle Air  

Eagle Air Piper Chieftain ZK-EIE at Palmerston North on 18 May 1984
Tyrell Aviation
Tyrell Aviation's Beech King Air ZK-TAL at Hamilton on 27 September 1995

Negatives :
Lean routes, the danger of high fares. Air Central seemed to get okay loads. Again, maybe the PC12 maybe the machine to get a bit of passenger appeal run on the Sunair air taxi model

Check out this Youtube clip :

If you have a suggested route send me an email with your thoughts on it...



  1. With Hamilton urban and regional population growing from the economic refugees fleeing Auckland, Hamilton could be become a regional hub for operator/s like Sunair to operate HLZ/NPE and HLZ/NPL and possibility HLZ/TUO and HLZ/WAG services.

    Just a thought, if NZ's population doubles to 10 million with the empathizes on the regions, then NZ, could see two 2nd level regional air operators and might see Air NZ and/or Jetstar re-introducing cancelled services and/or adding new regional services.

    1. I agree Kris... HLZ-NPL might be a bit short. I am surprised Sunair hasn't tried to reintroduce HLZ-NPE... The only option now is via WLG. Sunair is not cheap but most days it is carrying a few people HLZ-GIS...

  2. Palmy - Tauranga could work - good populations and quite a long drive as the alternative. I'm unsure Palmy - New Plymouth would ever work well, as the highway between the two is quite an easy drive.

    Nelson - New Plymouth (- Hamilton) could be an interesting route though...

    1. Air Central flew in the morning GIS-NPE-PMR-NPL-ROT-GIS and then the reverse in the afternoon... It was like a bus service, picking up and dropping off people as it went... PMR-NPL is not a route I would have thought of but as I said there was someone flying PMR-NPL via WLG the other day

    2. Agree, there would be some interest in New Plymouth - Nelson. How about New Plymouth - Napier?

  3. Hamilton is fast becoming a powerhouse for economic distribution. The spectacular shortsightedness of Air NZ to cut the AKL-HLZ route is just stupid. HLZ could have one of the daily far north services based Q300 stabled there. HLZ-NSN was a viable route and KRA could've carried on with it in a joint service with Air Chathams.
    The Saab was perfect.

    1. I agree, especially with the 2 new island ports being built. Also Hamilton is seeing a good increase in tourism to the Waikato region.

      The only draw back with Hamilton, that the airport is not close to city and it is expensive by taxi or by shuttle bus to and from the city. If there was a re-introduction of a city to airport bus service like in the NAC days, then a regular Q300 service either between HLZ/AKL operated by Air NZ or Jetstar could work of all 1st 2nd and 3rd level carriers using Hamilton as a hub.

      Air NZ could extends is current HLZ/PMR/WLG Q300 service to a regular AKL/HLZ/PMR/WLG service.

      At present it is easier to travel from city to Auckland airport using InterCity's direct airport service at $20.00 each way of their bus pass.

  4. The fact that Sounds Air is making BHE-NPE work is a sign that inter-regional flights can work

    1. In regards to that route... just exactly how well is that service going..? Full loads or just enough to get over that minimum requirement before the local council has to buy the other seats... That's if they have signed the same agreement with the likes of Taupo and Westport have signed

  5. Steve
    Any word from Air Canterbury on what they are up to they were getting their AOC sorted and looking at utilising the CAC current aircraft. I understand Jeremy Ford is in charge of this but not sure where they are at.
    Probably based around CHC and transit in and out of Kaikoura. Maybe down the east coast area also ??

  6. Interesting... heard nothing