31 March 2018

Air Chathams' Runway Issues

A follow on effect from the debate about the extension of Wellington Airport and its RESAs is that the issue effects all New Zealand's airports. This is part of the issue for Air Chathams going into Paraparaumu, but also it has an impact on Whakatane...

Whakatane Airport will have an extended safety area of its runway from its current 90 metres to 250m, following a Supreme Court ruling on the safety areas required at major airports in New Zealand. The ruling has impacted Air Chathams’ flights from the airport. The airline was forced to suspend flights from Whakatane by two of its larger aircraft –its 50-seater Convair and its 34-seater Saab – following an Appeal Court ruling in June regarding the safety area, also known as a RESA, of Wellington Airport. Air Chathams currently operates its 18-seat Metroliner and DC3 craft, which carries 28 passengers. The airline flies about 26,000 passengers a year. Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne said the Ministry of Transport was a 50 percent shareholder of the airport and the council had applied to it to share the costs of the extension. “We already have a business plan in place and getting the ministry’s approval of the plan will be even easier now that the court has upheld the ruling,” he said. Mr Bonne said the extension would cost $250,000. It would be built on council-owned land, but the council would have to work with leaseholders who are using it for grazing. “It will affect airports around New Zealand. A number of airports will have to extend their runways. It is not a major safety issue, but it is an extra safety feature the court has seen fit to impose.” Mr Bonne said the council expected the work to be completed early next year. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal ruled that airports require a 240m runway safety area if they operate craft carrying more than 30 passengers. Most regional airports have a 90m safety area. The decision was appealed against by Wellington International Airport, the NZ Airports Association and the Civil Aviation Authority. The New Zealand Air Line Pilots Association has welcomed the Appeal Court ruling. The association successfully argued that the Court of Appeal’s decision was correctly decided, and that the appeal should be dismissed. Most aircraft accidents occur during landing and take-off. These include incidents where the aircraft “undershoots” (lands or takes-off short of) or “overruns” the end of the runway, said association president and international pilot Tim Robinson. “The risk of such an incident can be likened to the chance of a severe earthquake. Although the likelihood of an ‘undershoot’ or overrun is low when compared to the total volume of air traffic, the consequences can be catastrophic,” he said. The original decision made by the Court of Appeal considered evidence that a landing overrun incident at Wellington Airport would likely result in the death of all on board. “International aviation authorities including the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the Federal Bureau of Air Safety, the Flight Safety Foundation, and other organisations in the UK and EU say that one critical safety measure to mitigate the risk of an overrun or undershoot incident is to provide a RESA of suitable length.” RESAs must be a cleared and graded area but do not have to be constructed to the same specifications as a runway. Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny could not be reached at the time of going to press.

Source : https://whakatanebeacon.co.nz/2017/12/airport-to-have-extended-runway/, 29 December 2017

A regional airline supporting the Eastern Bay of Plenty has been stung by a Supreme Court ruling. Air Chathams took over the Eastern Bay of Plenty service when Air NZ stopped flights to Whakatane. Air Chathams took over the regional service in 2015 when Air New Zealand stopped flights to Whakatane, but a ruling in the country's highest court has grounded some of Air Chathams' fleet. Last year the Supreme Court ruled Wellington's airport extension should not have been granted with only a 90-metre safety buffer. And now, where practicable, airports such as Whakatane need to extend their runway end safety area from 90 to 250 metres if they want to support aircraft carrying more than 30 passengers. "Having that restriction placed on Whakatane Airport has certainly had an affect on our business. We'd certainly like to develop that route more," said Air Chathams general manager Duane Emney. Mr Emney says plans Air Chathams had to operate larger capacity aircraft like the Saab 340 hasn't been possible due to the 30-seat restriction. Whakatane airport is jointly owned by the council and the Ministry of Transport. Extending the safety zone will cost $250,000 and the ministry says it's evaluating the business case. Air Chathams has stopped its 50 and 34-seaters from landing at Whakatane Airport until those safety measures are in place. And although Air New Zealand no longer services the region, Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne says it could be doing more to help. "When they did pull out they said they were going to embrace and help the feeder airlines. We're still waiting for that interline agreement with them," Mr Bonne said. But in a statement Air New Zealand told 1 NEWS it doesn't have any interline agreements with domestic carriers. Meanwhile Air Chathams is in a holding pattern, waiting to get its bigger planes servicing the Eastern Bay of Plenty region.

Source : https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/supreme-court-runway-length-ruling-grounds-some-air-chathams-fleet, 29 March 2018

29 March 2018

Sunair's Response

It's been six months since Barrier Air chairman Peter Griffiths told his airline that competitor Sunair was grounded and that Barrier Air could pick up some of its work. The fact he did so while he was deputy chair of the Civil Aviation Board and before Sunair was told, is confirmed in a report just released, as is the fact that he did so to gain a commercial advantage, however ‘inadvertent'. Peter Griffiths resigned, but Sunair remains grounded. Sunair Aviation company director Daniel Power says Mary Sholtens' terms of reference restrained her investigation a little and that the general aviation industry would like to have seen them widened. “I have seen the report and yes, the ex-vice chairman of the CAA board had used confidential information in an incorrect way, and probably in an attempt to make some financial gain, that has been made clear by the report,” says Daniel. “The other item of interest that comes from the report is Mary Sholtens had spoken to a number of participants within the industry, mainly air transport operators like Sunair, and it has become clear that there is a high level of distrust from the industry toward the CAA.” It's now clear from the report that Peter Griffiths had no influence on Sunair's grounding, and that transparency will help in restoring the industry's relationship with the CAA, says Daniel. “But certainly that needs to be noted, that the relationship between the CAA and industry is not good. I think anyone would agree that to be an effective regulator, they need to be able to relate to the industry well. “So I'm accepting of the report and accepting of the fact that the ex-vice chair hasn't influenced the CAA at a grass root level, but his behaviour as a board member hasn't been particularly impressive. I do accept the Peter Griffiths affair has not influenced the CAA with the Sunair shut down. I'm accepting of that with what has come through on the report, but certainly there is work to be done with regard to building a better relationship between industry and the CAA.” He says they are close to resolving the issues raised by the CAA, and Sunair Aviation expects to resume operations shortly. “There's a lot of customers waiting for us to start, I can assure you. Our services have been missed. Our specialty is providing essential air services to remote areas, and in our absence in the last six months, no one else has taken on this work. The remote areas principally being, the far north and Poverty Bay are missing our services, that's for sure.”

I am for one Dan... Looking forward to seeing Sunair flying over my place sometime soon and to flying skies...

For the full article see :

Paraparaumu Progress

Traffic lights may need to be installed north of the Kapiti airport, in order for Air Chathams to take on the Parparaumu to Auckland air service. Air Chathams General Manager Duane Emeny told Beach FM exclusively that the performance data they’ve been waiting for has come through, and confirmed the airline will be able operate their Saab aircraft at Kapiti airport. However, it’s also raised potential “performance restrictions” that Emeny says could cause passenger disruption off-loading”, more frequently than they would like. To address this, Air Chathams would need to cut back seats sold to a level that will require fares to be higher than the airline considers competitive with neighbouring ports, after factoring in extra driving time and convenience. One solution is to operate a traffic light system north of the airport to momentarily halt traffic, but only “when required for maximum performance take-off”. Kāpiti Coast District Council Chief Executive Wayne Maxwell, says “discussions with Air Chathams are looking promising”. He says being a family-owned and operated business, Air Chathams is a good fit for Kāpiti and KCDC is doing what can be done to help them make a decision, including taking a look at traffic lights on Kāpiti Road. Mr Maxwell says: “We believe that our community will agree that if stopping traffic once or twice a day is what it takes to make it work, we need to see if we can make that happen.” Air Chathams estimates that, on average, the lights would be required about 10 times a week. Mr Emeny says “there would be “minimal disruption to traffic but it will have a huge effect” on their ability to provide the service.

Source : https://www.beachfm.co.nz/single-post/2018/03/29/Traffic-Lights-Needed-for-Air-Chathams-to-Operate-from-Kapiti-Airport

The Kapiti Coast District Council says they’re actively looking at the traffic lights issue that potential Kapiti-Auckland air service provider Air Chathams has raised... 
Kāpiti Coast District Council Chief Executive Wayne Maxwell says discussions with Air Chathams are looking promising and they have expressed strong interest in establishing themselves here. “Being a family owned and operated business they are a good fit for Kāpiti and we are doing what we can to help them make a decision, this includes taking a look at traffic lights on Kāpiti Road,” he says. “We believe that our community will agree that if stopping traffic once or twice a day is what it takes to make it work, we need to see if we can make that happen,” says Mr Maxwell. “Events of the past few weeks have shown that there is strong business, community and government support for maintaining and growing regional air links between Kāpiti and other parts of New Zealand. With an average 80 per cent loading on the Air New Zealand Kāpiti-Auckland service, the Council is confident that Air Chathams will be able to come in and hit the ground running,” says Mr Maxwell.

Air Chathams estimates that, on average, the traffic lights would be required about 10 times a week.

Mr Emeny says there would be “minimal disruption to traffic but it will have a huge effect” on their ability to provide the service.

Air Chathams are exploring a number of other issues before making their final decision,  as they are looking "to offer a strong, viable service going forward".

27 March 2018

Still no word on Sunair flying but...

An independent investigator has found a Civil Aviation Authority board member "inadvertently" used confidential information to gain an advantage over a competitor, Tauranga airline Sunair Aviation. The results of Queen's Counsel Mary Scholtens' investigation into the circumstances surrounding Peter Griffiths' resignation as deputy chairman of the authority's board in September last year were released today. Griffiths resigned after it emerged that on September 8 he told Great Barrier Airline, a company he part-owned, the authority was about to suspend Sunair's operating certificate due to safety concerns. Under a "no surprises" policy, at 3.15pm Griffiths was forwarded an email that had been sent to then-Transport Minister Simon Bridges notifying the minister of the Sunair suspension. Shortly after, Griffiths called the Barrier Air chief operating officer and suggested staff contact Sunair and offer to help cover some of its contracted routes. The two companies had competed for contracts in the past. Sunair learned of the coming suspension from a Barrier Air pilot two hours before the authority officially emailed notice, Scholtens found. Scholtens found Griffiths made "a thoughtless mistake" but, regardless of intent, it was "objectively a misuse of confidential information received in his capacity of a member of the board ... to attempt to gain an advantage for Barrier Air". She found no reason to doubt his explanation that he read the message quickly and did not realise Sunair had not been informed, and that his actions were "genuinely intended to assist Sunair if possible". Scholtens reported Griffiths told her he had been very busy when he read the email and would not have disclosed the information had he realised it was not public. The authority's initial investigation turned up claims from some in the aviation sector that Griffiths used his influence as a board member to subject competitors to more regulatory scrutiny than Barrier Air's competitors. Scholtens saw no evidence of that but found having a board member with a stake in an airline did pose problems and could look suspicious. She made five recommendations, including reviews of the board's conflicts of interest policy and "no surprises" practice, and looking at the risks of having board members with financial stakes in aviation. Board chairman Nigel Gould said the board would action the recommendations urgently. Gould said he regretted what had happened. "While I accept that Mr Griffiths' actions in the Sunair case were well-intentioned, they nevertheless represent a profound error of judgment by a member of the board. He has suffered the consequences of that error and will likely continue to do so for some time." Mr Griffiths told the Bay of Plenty Times he acknowledged he made an error and resigned. "Notwithstanding that, I think the travelling public and members of the aviation system should continue to have the utmost confidence in the integrity and most crucially the impartiality of the director and staff of the CAA." The Bay of Plenty Times has contacted Sunair owner Dan Power for comment, as well as Barrier Air and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, but none responded before deadline.

Source : 

25 March 2018

Waiting at Sydney

While waiting my Auckland flight at Sydney on 23 March 2018 I caught the following...

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-212(ER) 9V-SVM on taxi for departure to Singapore
Etihad Airways' Airbus A380-861 A6-APA under tow to the gate
Air Calin's Airbus A330-202 F-OHSD on pushback for Noumea
British Airways' Boeing 777-336(ER) G-STBH about to move to the gate
Thai Airways' Boeing 747-4D7 HS-TGB under tow to the gate
Jetstar's Airbus A320-232(WL) VH-VFO taxis past
Jetstar's Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner VH-VKL arrives on the gate under tow
Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-219(ER) ZK-OKF on taxi for an Auckland departure

23 March 2018

Regional Australia

Yesterday, 22 March 2018, I was flying Albury (NSW) to Sydney and managed to photograph a few aircraft

Regional Express' Saab 340 VH-ZRC departing for Sydney
A couple of Mooneys, VH-MBN and VH-MZY arrived

My ride to Sydney, Virgin Australia's ATR 72-600 VH-FVZ
A desperation shot of Qantas Link's Boeing 717 VH-YQT at Sydney

21 March 2018

Air New Zealand - Independent company or social provider of regional air services?

What's your thoughts...

Given the Shane Jones debate...
Independent company or social provider of regional air services?

Should Air New Zealand remain an independent company free from Government interference AND/OR should it have a responsibility as the national carrier to provide social, regional air services?

Latest Kapiti Coverage

Air Chathams 'very interested' in taking over Kāpiti-Auckland route  

Kāpiti residents are upset at the news that Air New Zealand is canning flights from Kāpiti Coast Airport. Air Chathams may step in to fill the void left by Air New Zealand, as it considers its own Kāpiti to Auckland flights. The national carrier abruptly announced on March 9 that it was canning its service between Auckland and Paraparaumu, north of Wellington, from April 3, stating it wanted to prioritise other areas of the country. However, eager residents will have to wait until at least next week for a decision, and up to two months before any service are up and running. Air Chathams chief executive Craig Emeny said the company was "very interested" in picking up the route, but a feasibility study was required, and a report into obstacles in the runway's path was due to be completed on Tuesday. "We have a technician looking into whether our aircraft have the performance they need to be able to avoid those obstacles if you had an emergency on take-off. These are the sort of things you have to be really thorough about and careful. Normally you need three months just to market in an area because, if you just arrive there, of course very few people know you and there's very few people on the airplane. It can be awfully expensive." The runway was also privately owned, so contracts would have to be drawn up between the parties. He said Air New Zealand had offered use of the ground equipment it left behind, as well as commercial information on the route. Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC) mayor K Gurunathan said talks between the council, Air New Zealand, and Air Chathams showed the family-owned airline could potentially take over the route. The council had received a written statement from Air New Zealand's chief executive Christopher Luxon which said the company would support them with ground equipment, information and expertise. "He acknowledged that given the exit timeframe will have an impact on another carrier looking to take over," said Gurunathan. To manage this disadvantage he has agreed to talk to Air Chatham and KCDC about financial support from Air New Zealand for the route to ensure it's viability in the short term and for the service to resume as soon as possible. "He has further committed to my request about exploring the inclusion of Air Chathams on Air New Zealand's booking system." Air New Zealand stated earlier this month it would support any other airline that wanted to operate the Auckland route. Luxon had also reportedly signalled he was open to discussing financial contributions to help the council market the new service. Emeny said he was not aware of any assistance for marketing services. "I have continued to express council's and our community's disappointment in the way we have been treated. I have stressed that I understand that Air New Zealand as this country's flag bearer, is engaged in direct competition with bigger operators like the Australian flag bearer the Qantas Group," Gurunathan said. "We want Air New Zealand to succeed in that competitive world but expect small districts like Kāpiti Coast to be looked [after]. Air New Zealand is a publicly owned entity and therefore has a duty of care." Air New Zealand was approached for comment.

Guy hosts meeting to reinstate Auckland-Kapiti flights

Otaki MP Nathan Guy says there is plenty of hope for the future of flights between Kapiti and Auckland following a meeting with key stakeholders in Parliament this morning. Mr Guy has hosted the meeting in a bid to secure the reinstatement of flights between Auckland and Kapiti after Air New Zealand announced earlier this month it will cancel its service from 3 April. The meeting was attended by representatives from Air Chathams, Todd Property, the Kapiti Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Gurunathan. “Today’s meeting was highly productive between key stakeholders who are all united by the common goal of looking for a solution. “Everyone who attended the meeting has noted the strong public support for retention of the flights, and we’re committed to finding a logical, effective solution. “Air Chathams, a proven regional air operator, has expressed a strong interest in taking over the service. This would be a great resolution and would provide some assurance and stability for the future of this important connection. “The outcome of this meeting signals that everyone is on the same page in regards to ensuring the flights continue following the disappointing decision by Air New Zealand. “By working together I’m confident we can achieve a new service in the next two to three months,” Mr Guy says. Mr Guy will be attending a public rally at the airport this Sunday where he will update the community on progress being made. He also recently launched a petition seeking support to save the Kapiti to Auckland service - it can be signed here.

Source : New Zealand National Party Press Release, 20 March 2018

Chamber Welcomes Interest From Air Chathams

The Kāpiti community can expect an update about the future of air services from Paraparaumu before Air New Zealand departs the region on 3 April 2018. The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce met with Hon Nathan Guy, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Air Chathams and Todd Property today at Parliament to discuss next steps in attracting a new airline to Kāpiti. “It was fantastic to get around the table with all the key stakeholders and discuss how we can retain this critical service. Air Chathams is showing a lot of interest in what Kāpiti has to offer. As a established regional carrier they know what it takes to operate a thriving airline from the regions,” says Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce. It’s estimated it will take between two to three months to work through some of the regulatory requirements for a new airline to operate from Kāpiti. “Our local businesses would warmly welcome a new carrier to Kāpiti, and we are working to do this as soon as possible. Kāpiti is facing unprecedented opportunities for growth. The daily flights to our largest city have been a feather in our cap, making it easier and more attractive to do business here, as well as increase awareness of Kāpiti as a credible and connected part of the business sector, particularly in Auckland. We are hoping to update the community on what happens next by the time Air New Zealand takes its final flight early next month,” says Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Source : Kapiti Coast Chamber Of Commerce Press Release, 20 March 2018

19 March 2018

Air Chathams Interested in Paraparaumu

Kāpiti Coast District Council plans to talk to airlines about expanding services beyond the Auckland to Kāpiti route that needs replacing when Air New Zealand scraps the service. The airline is dropping the daily Auckland service from Paraparaumu with the last flight in early April. Council chief executive Wayne Maxwell said the priority was finding an airline to fill that gap. "What's critical to us is a vitally sustainable and thriving airport, because it's really important both for our economy and resilience reasons. So we're actually looking a little bit bigger as well. "I want to talk to the airlines and go 'so what about some other destinations?'." Transmission Gully, a roading project making it faster to drive to the Kāpiti Coast, would increase demand at the airport, Mr Maxwell said, as people could drive in quickly from Porirua or Ōtaki. Passengers surveyed as they came off flights over the past few weeks had said they loved the service. Air Chathams has shown an interest in taking up the service. General manager Duane Emeny said Air New Zealand had been very proactive in providing interested airlines with data showing how viable it was to fly between Auckland and Kāpiti. "We've also had some discussion with the airport managers and the owners of the airport, because it is private land, and further to that we have been in discussion with the district council and the local mayor, and the (Ōtaki) MP, Nathan Guy." It was certainly the type of route Air Chathams would be interested in, and was similar to the Whanganui to Auckland passage the airline started flying last year, Mr Emery said. The population base and market was similar, and although there were airports an hour to 90 minutes drive away, some people still preferred to fly. Mr Emeny said the plane that would fly between the Kāpiti Coast and Auckland was likely to be a Saab 340, which had up to 36 seats, and had been well-received in Whanganui by those flying to Auckland. Meetings were been (does this mean were being OR had been) held on Tuesday, and Mr Emery hoped a decision would be made by the end of the week.

Some 50 years before...

The Coasters Club Facebook page put up these photos of Air Chathams' Douglas DC-3 
ZK-AWP at Hokitika on 18 March 2018...

Some 50 years earlier ZK-AWP was photographed at Hokitika on a couple of occasions operating the NAC DC-3 service to and from Wellington via Nelson and Westport.  The DC-3s were withdrawn from the service to Westport and Hokitika in early 1970

18 March 2018

Rotorua regains overnight for Wellington flights

Air New Zealand flight scheduling between Rotorua and Wellington is changing next month [April] to enable business travellers a full day’s work in the capital. The changes are also expected to strengthen Rotorua efforts to attract more domestic visitors from Wellington. The changes will take effect from 4 April 2018 and Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick, who has led efforts to reinstate early morning flights from Rotorua to Wellington, says it is great news. The mayor, airport management and Rotorua Chamber of Commerce have worked with Air New Zealand to make flight schedule changes to enable locals needing to be in the capital for work and/or meetings to have a full day of business in Wellington. "Current flight schedules don’t allow for that and we’ve lobbied hard on behalf of our business community," the mayor says. "Air New Zealand has listened and it’s now up to the local business community to support the new schedule and ensure it remains viable for the airline. "This is something our business community has told us is important so I’m sure the new schedule will be well utilised." What’s changing?
- Reinstatement of Monday to Friday 7am flight from Rotorua to Wellington with a return flight departing Wellington at 6.20pm;
- Addition of a Rotorua to Wellington flight Friday evenings, increasing the number of Rotorua to Wellington flights on Fridays from three to four;
- Additional Wellington to Rotorua service on Sundays, departing 6.20pm, increasing the number of Wellington to Rotorua flights on Sundays from two to three;
- The two extra weekend evening services (Fridays and Sundays) equate to a 5% increase in capacity on the Rotorua-Wellington route over the winter months, compared with last year.
Peter Stubbs, who chairs both the Rotorua Airport board and the board of Council’s economic development CCO Rotorua Economic Development Ltd, says the new schedule has come at the right time. "Air New Zealand has responded to calls for a more business-friendly schedule, which is great, and the change also coincides with Destination Rotorua looking to attract Wellington visitors. This change is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people over a reasonable period of time and the challenge now is for the community, in particular the business community, to support the new schedule to ensure we keep it. This will also strengthen our efforts to encourage Wellingtonians to consider Rotorua as a fantastic holiday destination so it’s come at a good time," Mr Stubbs says. The announcement is also welcomed by Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chair John McRae who says reinstatement of the flights was a strategic priority for the chamber. "The business community was seriously affected when it was removed and reinstatement has been a high priority," Mr McRae says. "Our philosophy is about collaborating and working together with Council and the Airport has delivered the result we sought." Air New Zealand’s Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier says after consistent feedback from the local community, the airline has worked hard to deliver an early morning weekday service from Rotorua to Wellington to enable a full day of business in the capital, returning to Rotorua in the evenings. "We are pleased we have been able to achieve this for the Rotorua community after working closely with the local chamber, airport, council - and Mayor Steve Chadwick. We are also delighted to add additional weekend capacity on the route which is a reflection of the strong growth we are seeing with Rotorua."

Source : http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/5/306122

Rotorua Airport is welcoming today’s announcement Air New Zealand is reinstating its early morning flight from Rotorua to Wellington, saying it shows what can be achieved when the city works together. Rotorua Airport chief executive Mark Gibb says the announcement comes after strong lobbying from the community, Rotorua Airport, the business sector, Rotorua Lakes Council and Mayor Steve Chadwick. From April 4, the schedule will include a 7am flight from Rotorua to Wellington on weekdays, enabling travellers to reach meetings in Wellington that morning. As a result, Rotorua Airport will have early morning start up flights to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch opening opportunities travellers. “This not only supports the business sector, but visitors and the wider community, providing more options for travel on any given day. “We know this will make a significant difference to those who regularly travel to Wellington, especially for business. “The demand has been clear from our business community and it is important that the service is now utilised, in order to sustain it.” Mr Gibb says the news comes on top of a strong performance from Rotorua Airport over the past year. In the year to December 31, 2017, the airport recorded its highest number of passenger movements since 2008 – with 241,303 people travelling through the airport. In December, the number of aviation movements also peaked at its highest monthly total since records began in 2012, with 537 aircraft using the airport over the month. “These numbers reflect the hard work at the airport, Council and Destination Rotorua, to ensure our city best fits the needs of travellers. “The announcement of the new 7am Wellington flight will be another boost to this effect.”

Whitianga Commuter Service

On the 14th of March this appeared on the FlyStark Facebook page...

Calling all weekly commuters!!! We are looking at putting on a service Whitianga to Ardmore on a Monday morning returning on a Friday afternoon - if this sounds of interest to you please email -info@flystark.com -

“Why drive when you can FLY”

Then on Friday the 16th  the following appeared...

Thank you all so much for your interest in flying from Whitianga to Ardmore on a Monday morning, and then returning on Friday afternoon. For this to be feasible for us we can only fly if we have a minimum of 4 people. So what we are suggesting is the Thursday prior to the Monday flight all bookings have to be in to info@flystark.com and if we get 4 or more people then the following weeks flight will go ahead.

Flight info:

Mondays flight departs Whitianga @ 7.15am
Friday’s flight departs Ardmore @ 4.30pm

Flight time is 25 MINUTES!!!!

$150 each way.
Mobile number, weight and luggage weight required at time of booking.
*email booking required Thursday prior.
A free shuttle service to the Papakura train station included in the price


17 March 2018

Wanted : One Airline

Council takes steps on Kāpiti Coast Airport services

Kāpiti Coast District Council chief executive Wayne Maxwell says the Council is solutions focussed and taking action, following last week’s announcement by Air New Zealand to suspend flights between the Kāpiti Coast and Auckland. “We see a long term future for the airport and are engaging with other potential airline operators,” Mr Maxwell said. From this weekend, Council staff will be on the ground at the airport talking to travelers and gathering additional data about how the service is used. “This will assist us in working to bring another airline provider to Kāpiti,” he said. Mr Maxwell’s comments echo those of Mayor K Gurunathan, who last week affirmed his confidence in the airport’s long term future. The Council had already started conversations with other airlines as potential providers of an alternative service from Kāpiti. The Mayor was also quick to dispel suggestions of negative impacts on economic growth. “Growth in Kāpiti doesn’t rest and fall on Air New Zealand serving the airport,” Mayor K Gurunathan said. “We have a buoyant district economy and the expressways, Transmission Gully, quality rail links and daily flights to and from Nelson and Blenheim mean Kāpiti is connected and accessible to both the greater Wellington region, the central North Island and beyond.” Mr Maxwell said Council’s goal for Kāpiti was an open, functioning and viable airport – not just for economic reasons, but also for the key emergency management role the airport plays in the wider Wellington region’s resilience strategies. Former airport owner Sir Noel Robinson has also demonstrated his ongoing passion and vision for the District and the airport, commenting in a number of media interviews. This includes highlighting an increased awareness of the airport’s critical emergency management role as a logistics staging point, post the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake. “Since we were first alerted to Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw services from Kāpiti we have been in conversation with a range of interested parties to rally support and identify possible solutions,” he said. This includes Air Chathams, who fly to a number of destinations and stepped in to provide a service to Whanganui in similar circumstances. Kāpiti Coast Airport and its owner Todd Property, local MPs (Nathan Guy and Kris Faafoi), Air New Zealand, the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce, and our neighbouring Mayors in Porirua and Horowhenua have also been part of the Council’s discussions. “We are in the process of pulling together a feasibility study and business case looking at the ongoing viability of the airport, replacing the Air New Zealand service as a starting point,” Mr Maxwell said. “We are encouraged and bolstered by the business and community support of our initial response to the Air New Zealand announcement and will continue to take a lead in responding to their commercial decision. “While there will be a gap in the short-term, as far as we’re concerned we must have a replacement service within two to three months.”

Source : Press Release: Kapiti Coast District Council - 16 March 2018

Departing - Air New Zealand - the photo above is of the first scheduled Air New Zealand flight into Paraparaumu
Air2there operate daily services from Paraparaumu to Blenheim and Nelson
Sounds Air operate services from Paraparaumu to Blenheim and Nelson on three days a week
Air Chathams - the chief contender - have been silent so far 

14 March 2018

From Gisborne to Waikato Hospital

Air Gisborne is regularly flying into Hamilton these days... 

Beech King Air ZK-SKL is doing air ambulance work... This photo was taken out of my ATR window when about to fly to Wellington yesterday

Also coming in most days is Air Gisborne's Piper Navajo ZK-SRC (at rear) which brings medical staff and patients for appointments at Waikato Hospital

Wide Body Services to operate between Auckland – Christchurch

Air New Zealand will be operating services between Auckland and Christchurch using the Boeing 787-9 and 777-200 aircraft over the coming months. The following flights will be operated by a 787-9 and 777-200 aircraft:

So a little bit of mathematical deduction...

Fact 1 : Wide Body Boeings replacing Airbuses AKL-CHC-CHC

Fact 2 : Airbuses replacing ATRs WLG-CHC-WLG

Fact 3 : Small operators complaining about losing pilots


13 March 2018

This was a bit unfortunate...

I just found this press release last month... 
The comment by Air New Zealand's Regional Affairs Manager was a bit untimely given the announcement last week...

Open day aims to encourage business people to fly from Kāpiti

Press Release – Kapiti Coast Chamber Of Commerce
Kāpiti and Porirua local business professionals are being invited to get behind the daily flight service from Paraparaumu to Auckland and support the Open Day at Kapiti Coast Airport.
The Open Day will be held on 3 March, in partnership with Air New Zealand, the Kāpiti Coast District Council, and the Kāpiti and Porirua Chambers of Commerce. A chance for the community to get up and personal with this vital service, the event builds on the work already underway by both Chambers to drive passenger demand for the Kāpiti to Auckland link.
“We consider our daily connection to Auckland critical infrastructure. It plays an important role in our wider regional economic growth. We’re really pleased to hear anecdotally more people are choosing to fly from Kāpiti – but we can always do more to encourage local businesses to capitalise on the convenience of flying from Paraparaumu” says Heather Hutchings, Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce Chair.
The Kāpiti and Porirua Chambers began working together in 2017 to drive passenger demand, in response to a challenge issued by Air New Zealand for Kāpiti to create a compelling narrative they can promote on behalf of the region.
“We would like business professionals who regularly fly to Auckland to consider flying from Kāpiti instead of Wellington. We are pleased to support the Open Day – this is just one of the initiatives underway to drive better awareness of the Kāpiti to Auckland route and the convenience it offers,” says Heather Hutchings.
Former Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett has used the service with his regular travel to and from Auckland.
“Earlier this week, we had a full flight south to Kapiti, I was off the plane and into the car in under a minute and home to Paremata in twenty-five minutes. The alternative at Wellington would have taken a lot longer through airport construction and building peak hour traffic.”
Tracy Johnson, Porirua Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, says Kāpiti Coast Airport will become even more important to Porirua in the years to come.
“We have the third-highest household income in New Zealand, with a high volume of business travellers commuting each day to Wellington Airport. We will be even more closely connected once Transmission Gully is completed. It makes sense for us to encourage our members to consider travelling from Kāpiti, and taking advantage of everything the airport offers,” says Tracy Johnson.
Ian Collier, Air New Zealand Regional Affairs Manager, says he hopes the Open Day attracts both leisure and business travellers alike.
“We have been working closely with the Chambers and Council to grow awareness for the direct Kāpiti Coast – Auckland link and initiatives such as the upcoming Open Day are a great opportunity to highlight the service to the local community whether they may need to travel for business or leisure. We’re looking forward to attending the event and engaging with the community,” says Ian Collier.
The Open Day, which is being supported by Kapiti Coast Airport, begins at 12pm and will run for approximately two hours. There will be an opportunity to win two return Air New Zealand flights to Auckland, check out some of the tourism opportunities on offer in Kapiti, take a behind the scenes tour and go on board an Air New Zealand Q300 aircraft.
Press Release – Kapiti Coast District Council
Kāpiti Coast District Council’s Mayor K Gurunathan will join other regional leaders, the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce, and Air New Zealand to host an open day at Kāpiti Coast Airport for the local community on Saturday 3 March. Following the arrival of Air New Zealand’s first scheduled flight of the day at 11.30am, the airport will be open to visitors from around the region.
The Mayor says the Council is pleased to support Air NZ’s initiatives and understands the importance of maintaining and growing the regional route, both for business and community in Kāpiti and neighbouring regions.
“The advantages and convenience of being able to travel directly from the Coast into Auckland, and home again without having to travel to Wellington city are obvious, and we want to remind not just locals of that, but alert out-of-region visitors to that convenience, as well,” he said.
For the first time, the mayors of Kapiti, Porirua, and Horowhenua will be coming together to promote a regional asset.
“I’m very pleased to be welcoming Mayors Mike Tana and Michael Feyen to Kāpiti, and I’ll be inviting them to check out the range of tourism options on show during the open day. We’ll consider how these are well placed to be promoted to visitors as part of a wider regional package of leisure activities and experiences north of Wellington.”
“The completion of Transmission Gully will make travel time between Porirua and Kāpiti shorter making Kāpiti Airport a viable alternative for Porirua residents, given Wellington’s traffic congestion and parking problems,” Mayor Tana said.
Mayor Feyen said the proposed expressway extension north through Horowhenua will do the same and draw the District’s business catchment south towards Kāpiti and Porirua.
“Kāpiti Airport will be an alternative to the one in Palmerston North,” he added.
The public will be invited to view the facilities, go on board an Air New Zealand Q300 aircraft, enjoy free refreshments, and learn more about what’s on offer, both leisure and business-wise in Kāpiti. There’ll also be flight prize draws for two return Air NZ Kāpiti to Auckland flights.
Air New Zealand Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier says the airline is looking forward to co-hosting the open day.
“We’ve been working closely with local stakeholders to encourage use of our services and grow demand and this open day is just one output of this work. We’re looking forward to inviting Kāpiti Coast locals on board one of our Q300 aircraft as part of the event and sharing more details on the services available at Kāpiti Coast Airport,” says Mr Collier.
Mayor Gurunathan also thanked the Chamber for their sterling support and promised to continue to seek a stronger working relationship of all involved in highlighting the importance of the regular air connection north and south.
Members of the public are invited to attend the Open Day at Kāpiti Coast Airport, 60 Toru Road, Paraparaumu Beach on Saturday 3 March from 12.00pm to 2.15pm.

11 March 2018

CIZ getting ready for service

One of Air Chathams' new Saab 340s ZK-CIZ is clearly getting ready for service...
CIZ was photographed at Auckland on 11 March 2018 

Air Wellington - Another Paraparaumu Commuter Airline


In 1992 Welair Ltd was formed by Richard Bull, Brian Davison, Richard Joel and Richard Baldwin to take over the Paraparaumu based Gold Coast Air Ltd which offered training and charter services.

A couple of Welair's single engine charter and training fleet, above Cessna 182RG Skylane ZK-EKL
and below Cessna 172 ZK-FCW. Both photos taken at Paraparaumu

In June 1996 Richard Baldwin formed his own company, Air Wellington Ltd, and purchased Piper PA31-310 Navajo ZK-WHW. Air Wellington leased this aircraft to Welair but Air Wellington was to be name under which the scheduled air services operated.

Air Wellington's Piper Navajo ZK-WHW taken at Gisborne on 28 September 1998

In the summer of 1996/97 Welair started twice weekly services between Paraparaumu and Nelson using Piper Navajo ZK-WHW. These services ran in the late afternoon/early evening on Fridays and Sundays. In April 1997 Piper PA23-250 Aztec ZK-DUB was added to the fleet and this was also used on the Nelson service.

Nelson Evening Mail, March 1997

Piper Aztec ZK-DUB at Nelson on 2 January 1998

Air Wellington's timetable for the Nelson service effective 16 May 1997

In late July 1997 Welair, trading as Air Wellington, picked up United Aviation’s courier freight run from Palmerston North to Napier and Gisborne after United was grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority. Air Wellington’s managing director Richard Baldwin, told the Kapiti Observer that the company decided instead to use its own aircraft and pilots to continue the service. "The service United provided had a lot of regular customers from Palmerston North and we felt it was unfair to deprive them of that service." 

The first flight was flown on using Piper Navajo ZK-WHW. The service was extended to start and terminate at Paraparaumu with the company offering twice daily weekday flights on the Paraparaumu-Palmerston North-Napier Gisborne service. Richard Baldwin agreed the 6am departure is early but says it allows those getting on at Palmerston North to get in a full days work in Napier or Gisborne. “We can have you in Napier by 7.30am and Gisborne an hour later.” I think that's pretty good timing. A return flight from Paraparaumu to Palmerston North costs $70 and takes 30 minutes each way. "That's about the same price as a return bus trip but who wants to travel on congested roads when you can fly there in half the time. 

Air Wellington timetable effective 1 August 1997

The East Coast courier service necessitated the purchase of a larger aircraft and Piper Chieftain ZK-MCM was purchased from Mount Cook Airlines in August 1997. By November 1997 the Nelson-Paraparaumu service had been extended to three days a week with the addition of a Wednesday flight. These Nelson schedule was adjusted enabling connection with the Palmerston North, Napier and Gisborne service. Connections were also made available at Napier with Sunair flights to and from Hamilton and Tauranga.

Air Wellington's Piper Chieftain ZK-MCM still in its Mount Cook Airline's colour scheme at Paraparaumu on 5 December 1997

Chieftain ZK-MCM repainted at Queenstown on a charter on 12 April 1998

Air Wellington timetable, effective 17 November 1997

A second Piper Aztec, ZK-DIO, was acquired in August 1998.

The Air Wellington services continued until the 19th of February 1999 when the Air Service Certificate, Training Organisation Certificate and Aerial Work Certificate held by Welair were suspended by the Civil Aviation Authority.