26 September 2017

A Norfolk Opportunity...

Earlier this month Norfolk Island Airlines announced it's intention to withdraw its direct Auckland-Norfolk Island service. The airline's services  between Auckland and Norfolk Island began on the 18th of June 2017 with the hope that route would achieve the same level of support Air New Zealand had. Norfolk Island Airlines noted that after the service started the Australian Commonwealth Government raised its departure tax by 10% and then in August the Norfolk Island Regional Council announced that it would raise its airport movement charges by nearly 100%. Coupled with larger than planned start-up losses the airline said it was no longer a commercially viable option to continue further investment on the route. The service will end on the 14th of January 2018. This will end an air service that has existed since the 1st of April 1947.

On the 1st of April 1947 NAC began Pacific services from Auckland to the Pacific Island via Norfolk Island. this service using Douglas DC-3s. On the 14th of October 1952 NAC withdrew its Pacific services beyond Norfolk Island. The DC-3 service to Norfolk continued until September 1955 when it too was terminated. 

In November 1955 TEAL took over the Norfolk Island-Auckland service which operated fortnightly by a chartered Qantas flight Douglas DC-4. The DC-4 operated the Norfolk service until the the 1st of June 1975. 

For photos of a QANTAS Douglas Dc-4 scheme at Norfolk Island see

On the 4th of June 1975 NAC returned to Norfolk Island operating a Fokker F27-500 series Friendship on the Auckland-Norfolk Island route under charter to Air New Zealand. After NAC's merger with Air New Zealand on the 1st of April 1978 Air New Zealand continued the Friendship service until Boeing 737s replaced the Fokker Friendships on the Auckland-Norfolk Island services on the 23rd of September 1984.

For photos of a NAC Friendship in the 'white and red' and 'red and orange' NAC schemes at Norfolk Island see

In 2008 Air New Zealand commenced Airbus 320 flights to Norfolk Island supplementing the Air New Zealand Boeing 737 flights. In March 2009, the Airbus 320 aircraft replaced the Boeings on all flights between Norfolk Island and Auckland.

In 2012 Air New Zealand won an Australian government tender to operate flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Norfolk Island with two flights per week from Sydney and one per week from Brisbane. These flights began on the 2nd of March 2012 using Airbus 320s. In 2016 Air New Zealand's General Manager Networks Richard Thomson announced that, "The Auckland-Norfolk Island route is not commercially sustainable so it makes sense to focus our operations out of Australia, where there’s good potential" and that the Auckland- Norfolk Island service would end in May 2017. 

For a photo an Air New Zealand Airbus 320 at Norfolk Island see

Norfolk Island Airlines was the successor to this service.

Will there be a successor - maybe with a turbo-prop or will the service disappear after 70 years of operation???

25 September 2017

Sounds Air - Democracy Air

The Electoral Commission has been forced to think outside the box to transport ballot boxes from the Kaikōura township to Blenheim for counting. State Highway 1 between Blenheim and Kaikōura has been closed  since the November earthquake, and the highway between Kaikōura and Christchurch was closed on Friday because of slips. So the Electoral Commission chartered special flights with Sounds Air to pick up the ballot boxes from Kaikōura - one to deliver the early votes on Friday, and one to transport election day votes on Sunday. Kaikōura electorate returning officer Simon Caley said poor visibility prevented the Sounds Air plane from landing on Friday. The plane was unable to land in Kaikōura on Friday, but successfully landed there on Sunday morning. "Fortunately, SH1 reopened on Friday afternoon and we managed to get ballot boxes from Kaikoura south by road to link up with one of our vans," Caley said. "We then diverted the original flight to Christchurch and sent the van to Christchurch airport." The pilot waited on the tarmac for the van to arrive, and then flew the ballot boxes up to Blenheim on Friday evening, Caley said. "We finally got everything in by 9.30pm, in time for the count of advance votes on Saturday." The Electoral Commission had to do a lot of contingency planning to make sure people had access to voting services in Kaikōura and voting materials could be moved in and out, given the closure of State Highway 1, Caley said. A commission spokeswoman said votes cast in Kaikōura on election day were counted that evening so they could be included in the preliminary totals. Sounds Air finally made it into Kaikōura on Sunday morning to pick up the last of the ballot boxes, and flew them into Marlborough Airport so they could be officially counted in Blenheim. Sounds Air went "above and beyond", helping to get the ballots through through on time, Caley said.

Photos of the ballot box flight can be found here :

Great Sunair reporting SunLive

Tauranga airline Sunair remains grounded after a CAA official has resigned over the issues. Northland politician Shane Jones is accusing the authority of “stitching up” the airline. Sunair was grounded for the second time on September 8. The Civil Aviation Authority suspended the Air Operator Certificate of Sunair Aviation Ltd, and also suspended the Certificate of Airworthiness for the Sunair fleet of aircraft. A CAA spokesperson says it was initially for 10 days, but on Friday September 22, Sunair owner Daniel Power says they have heard nothing from CAA. Northland resident and NZ First's Shane Jones says the grounding of Sunair is related to the resignation of CAA deputy director chairman Peter Griffiths, who resigned last week after passing on information regarding the suspension of Sunair to Great Barrier Island-based Barrier Air, which he owns 25 per cent of. “I'm astounded at the Cynical Aviation Authority, that they have been allowed to get away with this stunt at a time when they should be working with this provincially important operator,” says Shane. “They have taken a nut cracker approach. The fact that the deputy chairman has had to resign only further strengthens my belief that the chairman should have gone as well. It's been a gross collapse in governance. You need to bear in mind that the CAA have form in conflict of interest. They were investigated a number of years ago and found to be wanting. Their conduct towards Sunair I think is reprehensible. Sunair are valuable contributors to our tourism and our economy up in the north and also they have held an important contract in relation to our DHB. All these things are extremely important to us.” CAA chairman Nigel Gould confirmed on Stuff that Griffiths acted before the latest suspension was in place, in the press release acknowledging the error. “…When he initiated the contact with Barrier Air he did not realise that the suspension was not yet in place," says the CAA. "It should be acknowledged that Peter's intent was to offer Barrier Air assistance to Sunair in order to minimise the adverse effect on its customers. Despite that good intent, Peter freely admits to an error of judgement and has submitted his resignation from the board." The CAA says the decision to ground Sunair is the result of an audit of Sunair records which found a number of anomalies and omissions in maintenance records. "These findings created a reasonable doubt about the airworthiness of the aircraft operated by Sunair and the Operator's maintenance control and the quality assurance systems intended to ensure their airworthiness," says an earlier CAA statement. Daniel Power says the airline's last audit was a year ago, and on maintenance practices it was found to be excellent. “And now we find for reasons that we don't fully understand, they now have concerns,” says Daniel. “And in the last 12 months our maintenance practices and procedures have not changed.” The airline was previously grounded by the CAA on December 6, 2016 over concerns about the airline's management structure. The CAA became concerned the company's senior team was too small for the size of the business. That issue was successfully resolved and Sunair returned to the skies on December 16 2016. When contacted for comment, the CAA released the following statement to SunLive. When asked why it was necessary to suspend Sunair's Air Operator Certificate and the Certificate of Airworthiness for its fleet when Sunair had reported the issues under CAR Part 12 and they were being deal with. The CAA reply is: "The decision to suspend Sunair resulted from an audit of Sunair maintenance records, conducted as a component of a recent change of their Maintenance Controller. The findings of this audit highlighted a number of anomalies and omissions in maintenance records that called into question the reliance that could be placed upon the operator's control and conduct of aircraft maintenance. These findings created a reasonable doubt about the airworthiness of the aircraft operated by Sunair and the Operator's maintenance control and the quality assurance systems intended to ensure their airworthiness. For this reason, the Director of Civil Aviation suspended the Sunair Air Operators Certificate, along with the Certificates of Airworthiness of its aircraft. (See section 17 of the Civil Aviation Act.) Sunair has the right to appeal these decisions to the District Court in accordance with section 66 of the Civil Aviation Act." When asked if CAA considers it acceptable practice that a senior member of its board has acquired shareholdings in two air transport operators while he is the role, and when he is in the position of being privy to commercially sensitive information, CAA's reply is: "By way of context, it is important to highlight that the Board is not involved in regulatory decision-making. This is done by the Director of Civil Aviation utilising powers that are independent of the Board. Having established that important fact, while acknowledging the obvious risks of having people with sector knowledge or involvement on the Board, there are also advantages to be gained from at least some of those providing governance of the CAA being familiar with the sector it regulates. Section 72A(5) of the Civil Aviation Act recognises this fact when it requires the Minister of Transport to consult with aviation industry bodies on the appointment of two of the CAA Board members. On balance, providing that conflicts of interest are managed correctly and Board members do not act on information held then the benefits of having some sector knowledge/involvement on the Board outweighs the risks." CAA's answer to the question why it was necessary to suspend Whitianga operator FlyStark's operations for three months from May to July 2017 over an incident of superficial damage to one of its aircraft's wings, CAA replies: "The aircraft in question was a Gippsland GA-8. Wingtip damage requires a maintenance inspection before the next flight, yet FlyStark flew. The maintenance manual for that aircraft requires that any damage to the outboard wing area, regardless of how minor it may appear, must be inspected by a maintenance engineer before the next flight (see section 17 of the Civil Aviation Act). "For this reason The Director of Civil Aviation decided to suspend the aircraft certificate of airworthiness until such time as an inspection had been completed and to suspend the Air Operator's Certificate while the root causes were being investigated. Although this CAA investigation was completed within a couple of weeks, FlyStark management elected to extend their operational suspension until they were fully satisfied that they were ready to recommence safe air transport operations."

20 September 2017

Fuel Crisis hits Barrier Air

This from Barrier Air's Facebook page...

As you may be aware Auckland Airport is currently experiencing issues related to the supply of Jet Fuel. Barrier Air now has restrictions in terms of the amount of Jet Fuel we are able to uplift for our Cessna Grand Caravan. We are replacing some of our Cessna Grand Caravan services with Britten Norman Islander aircraft in order to minimise disruptions to our schedule. Please note that the Islander aircraft has a much smaller payload than the Cessna Caravan. We therefore ask our guests to be conscious of checking in large volumes of bags and freight. Please call us on 0800 900 600 if you anticipate exceeding your baggage allowance. Our team will be in touch with all passengers affected by the revised schedules. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this time.

19 September 2017

The reason???

The deputy chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has resigned after an "error of judgment" involving an airline he part owns and a competitor. The crown entity, which oversees aviation safety, said deputy chairman Peter Griffiths had resigned after passing on information regarding the suspension of an airline. This was Tauranga-based airline Sunair Aviation, and the information was given to Great Barrier Island-based Barrier Air, which Griffiths bought 25 per cent of in April this year. Griffiths, and CAA chairman Nigel Gould said this was an error of judgment. Sunair had also received an apology from both Griffiths and Gould. "That said, it should be acknowledged that Peter's intent was to offer Barrier Air assistance to Sunair in order to minimise the adverse effect on its customers and when he initiated the contact with Barrier Air he did not realise that the suspension was not yet in place," the CAA said. "Despite that good intent, Peter freely admits to an error of judgement and has submitted his resignation from the board." Gould said the resignation and an internal debrief in this "very rare" case was sufficient to address the issue. Regulatory decision making was done by the Director of Civil Aviation, independent of the board, which meant while there were obvious risks to having people involved with aviation on the board, it also provided advantages. "On balance, providing that conflicts of interest are managed correctly and board members do not act on information held then the benefits of having some sector knowledge/involvement on the board outweighs the risks." Griffiths was also chairman of Z Energy and a director at NZX-listed Metro Performance Glass, having previously been BP New Zealand managing director. Griffiths' CAA profile said he had a lifelong interest in aviation and aircraft. Sunair was grounded by the CAA for the second time in less than a year earlier this month. The CAA said this decision was the result of an audit of Sunair records which found a number of anomalies and omissions in maintenance records. "These findings created a reasonable doubt about the airworthiness of the aircraft operated by Sunair and the Operator's maintenance control and the quality assurance systems intended to ensure their airworthiness."

13 September 2017

Sunair Grounded 2

Tauranga-based airline Sunair Aviation has been grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority for the second time in nine months. The authority has suspended Sunair's Air Operator Certificate, along with the Certificate of Airworthiness for the Sun Air fleet, on September 8. A spokeswoman for the authority said the action would ground the Sunair fleet and suspend all Sunair flight operations for an initial 10 day period. "An investigation into the company by the CAA is continuing," she said. On December 6 Sunair Aviation Ltd's Air Operator Certificate for 10 days, reissuing it on December 16. Sunair chief executive Daniel Power said in a statement that the authority had "concerns with the company" and had suspended Sunair's Air Operator Certificate while they investigate the concerns. "We hope to have these matters dealt with quickly, allowing a speedy return to the safe operation Sunair has provided for the past 30 years." A Bay of Plenty man who said he was a regular Sunair customer said he got one day's notice that his flights had been cancelled. He asked around and heard the company had been grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority. "Obviously I'm pretty dissatisfied. I've flown with them before because it's a convenience but I'm seriously considering the larger operators because this is just inconvenient." In March this year, Sunair Aviation became the first regional non-jet operator in the North Island to be selected as a preferred air carrier on the All of Government panel. The airline tendered for the panel in 2016 and, after an exhaustive process, was advised that its application had succeeded. The new status became effective from the beginning of March, 2017, to begin carrying government personnel.

Source : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11921291


Pacific Aerospace's test bed platform, PAC 750XL ZK-JZL at Hamilton on 11 September 2017

12 September 2017

Another Air Asia X Scheme

Air Asia X's Airbus 330 9M-XXP arrives in Auckland on 10 September 2017

Barrier Fliers

Fly My Sky's BN Islanders, ZK-PIY  

and red nose -PIZ at Auckland on 10 September 2017

Barrier Air's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SDB at Auckland on 10 September 2017 

11 September 2017

Air Chathams' freighters

I was delighted to get photos of the two Convair 580s Air Chathams are using on a four night a week air freight service between Auckland and Christchurch. Both ZK-KFH and ZK-KFL are being used...

Convair 580 ZK-KFH at Auckland on 10 September 2017
ZK-KFL and ZK-KFH together on the ramp at Auckland on 10 September 2017
There is a better picture of ZK-KFL here http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2017/09/auckland-domestic-ops.html

10 September 2017

Classic Fieldair Freight

With the retirement of Safe Air's Bristol Freighter fleet on the 30th of September 1986 Peter Vincent and Alan McGreevey saw the opportunity to establish an air freight service. To this in mind he imported Douglas DC-3C VH-PWM (c/n 11970) from Australia and also acquired the use of ex Fieldair Douglas DC-3 ZK-AWP. It had retired from topdressing on the 11th of May 1985 and had remained in storage at Palmerston North until it received freighter conversion for Classic Air Services Ltd., a Fieldair associated company, in late 1986.

Wearing Classic Air titles and NZ Railways' 'Speedlink' titles, Douglas DC-3 ZK-AMR arrives at Christchurch on 19 February 1987

A 12-month contract was signed with the New Zealand Railways Corporation to fly its freight under the Speedlink brand from Wellington to Christchurch, Nelson and Blenheim. Later a weekly flight to Auckland was introduced. Services began on the 15th of September 1986 with ZK-AMR flying the inaugural flights under the command of chief pilot Neil Abbott. The normal Nelson service saw two DC-3 flights a day, at 7am and at about 5pm with the Dominion newspaper being flown to Nelson on the morning service.

The Star reported on the arrival of the first flight to Christchurch: She swept in from the north through the cloud blanketing Christchurch Airport yesterday, hung for a brief moment over the main runway, then settled at the end of her inaugural freight run. Classic Air Ltd's 44-year old DC3 - ZK-AMR touched down shortly before 1 pm after an uneventful flight from Wellington with 2 tonnes of Railways Corporation cargo.

Classic Air's first flight into Christchurch on 15 September 1986
The Star, 16 September 1986

While the first flights operated as Classic Air the shareholding of the company had changed. Well established topdressing and engineering company Fieldair had purchased Alan McGreevey's majority shareholding and the company was rebranded as Fieldair Freight. ZK-AMR was still wearing Classic Air titles in February 1987 after which the Fieldair Freight logo was applied to the tail. Peter Vincent later sold his shareholding in the company and Fieldair became the sole shareholder.

Douglas DC-3 ZK-AMR with the Fieldair Freight titles at Queenstown on 24 October 1987...

...and in full Fieldair Freight colour scheme at Nelson on 14 January 1990.

Douglas DC-3C ZK-BBJ ended its topdressing career on the 5th of May 1987. It was then converted to a freighter and was registered to Fieldair Freight on the 18th of February 1988 joining ZK-AMR and ZK-AWP.

Douglas DC-3C ZK-BBJ in full Fieldair Freight colours at Nelson on14 August 1990

The Fieldair Freight service lasted for seven years and ended when Airwork won the contract to carry NZ Post's mail and parcels. The final services were flown on the 26th of March 1993.

Five months after the service ended Douglas DC-3C ZK-AWP was still looking quite sharp at Wanaka on 29 August 1993. It never wore the full Fieldair Freight colours.

09 September 2017

Another Red Nose...

Joining Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-SFK with a red nose is stablemate ZK-PIZ. Thanks to MRC Aviation for these pics taken on 7 September 2017

07 September 2017

Auckland Internationals

A look at the international arrivals at Auckland on Sunday 6 September 2017

Air Asia X's Airbus 330 (M-XXH arriving from Kuala Lumpur.
The special livery remembers its the company's Group Chief Operating Officer Anaz Ahmad Tajuddin who died earlier this year.

Setting off on the world's longest scheduled route, Auckland to Doha, is Qatar Airway's Boeing 777-200 A7-BBA

Arriving from Guangzhou, China Southern's Airbus 330 B-6135

On the taxi for departure, Cathay Pacific's Airbus 350 B-LRO

Arriving from Sydney LATAM's Boeing 787-9 CC-BGC

Coming in from Brisbane, locally based Dassault Falcon 900EX N146EX

FedEx's McDonnell Douglas MD-11F N572FE arrives from Honolulu 

My first photos of Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 ZK-NZK

and repainted Airbus 320 ZK-OJO

Qantas Airbus 330 VH-EBP

05 September 2017

Another Fly My Sky Variation

Another Fly My Sky scheme to look out for... Painted over the weekend, BN Islander ZK-SFK is now wearing a red nose for Red Nose Day. Red Nose Day is Cure Kids’ biggest annual appeal, aiming to raise $1 million for child health research. This year, Red Nose Day is taking place during the month of September, with Red Nose Day itself on September 29th.

Thanks to Grant from Fly My Sky for sending the pics and well done Fly My Sky for supporting the cause.

For bookings on Fly My Sky see http://www.flymysky.co.nz/

For my profile on Fly My Sky see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/fly-my-sky.html

Auckland domestic ops

There was nothing too exciting on domestic ops to record at Auckland on Sunday 3 September 2017

Air Chathams' Convair 580 freighter ZK-KFL was parked up...
Does anyone know if Air Chathams has actually used this on freight ops? 
My first photo of Mount Cook Airlines' ATR 72-500 ZK-MCC in the new scheme... The 500 series will be written out of the script.
The quiet season for the Great Barrier operators.
Fly My Sky did a couple of trips in BN Islander ZK-PIZ 
Barrier Air did one in Cessna 208 Grand Caravan ZK-SDB
A couple of Jetstar aircraft I didn't have...
Bombardier Q300 VH-TQK
and Airbus 320 VH-VFX

04 September 2017

Ardmore Movements

After staking out Auckland International yesterday (3 September 2017) I also had 45 minutes at Ardmore late yesterday afternoon...

The Auckland Aero Club's Cessna 162 Skycatcher returning home

My first photo of Druine D31 Turbulent ZK-CFY which was rcoketing around the circuit

On take off Cessna 182 ZK-DJN

and the Auckland Aero Club's Cessna 172 ZK-JRG

Cessna 180 ZK-KRM called in for a few minutes

Cessna Citation C510 Mustang N890LG was returning from Hokitika

And after staking out Auckland International to get Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-PIY in its news scheme I cuaght it at Ardmore

The Coastguard's Cessna 182 ZK-SAR arriving back

A disappointing shot of Robin R2160 ZK-SPN

A couple of Ardmore Flying School stablemates, Cessna 172 ZK-TAG and ZK-XAT