31 May 2018

Auckland this avo...

An hour or two at Auckland Internation on 31 May 2018

Cathay Pacific's Airbus 350 B-LRA about to depart for Hong Kong

Fiji Airways' Airbus 330 DQ-FJO heading back to Nadi

Arriving in from Papeete, Airbus 340 F-OJGF

Thai International's Boeing 787-8 HS-TQD off to Bangkok

My first photo of Learjet 60 ZK-JAK

Fly My Sky BN Islander ZK-PIZ arriving in from the Barrier

My first photo of a Philippines Airlines' aircraft, Airbus 340 RP-C3435
And my first photo of Barrier Air's Cessna 208 Grand Caravan ZK-SDC

28 May 2018

Opotiki Once had an Air Service

There wasn't a lot to be seen aviation wise on my trip to and from Gisborne this weekend with the excepetion of Opotiki.

Opotiki once had an airline service with Union Airways inaugurating an Auckland-Tauranga-Opotiki-Gisborne service . The first flight was operated with de Havilland DH86 Express ZK-AEH "Korimako" under the command of Commander G.R. White with Second Officer K.A. Brownjohn on the 20th of March 1939. The return flight was made on the following day.

ZK-AEH at Opotiki
The Second World War brought an end to the air service which was withdrawn on the 16th of October 1939. The Bay of Plenty Beacon on 18 October 1939 reported...

A little in advance of expectations the air link between Gisborne and Auckland, via Opotiki and Tauranga, was broken on Thursday, when Union Airways' four-enginer air-liner made its last trip. Previously it had been announced that the last trip would be made on Saturday, but the original plan was altered. After taking off from the Opotiki aerodrome on Thursday morning, the big plane flew over the Otara district and then turned towards the aerodrome again, flying at a fair height. As the machine flew over the aerodrome it suddenly dived low down and then rose steeply again, as a farewell salute. The machine then flew over the town at a low altitude. The service has now been suspended indefinitely owing to the government taking over the company's De Havilland planes for instructional purposes.

In all my years taking aeroplane photos I have only ever got two at Opotiki until yesterday, 27 May 2018... Unfortunately there wasn't a DH Express there!

Outside was Micro Aviation B22 Bantam ZK-DJT, the rego is seen on the nose below...

Micro Aviation B22 Bantam ZK-FTF was parked in the back of the hangar
Tecnam P2002 Sierra RG returned from a local.
Hughes Lightwing GR-912S ZK-NBG was rolled out to repack the hangar.
Zenair CH701 STOL ZK-SCC did a quick circuit

20 May 2018

Golden Bay Air - All Systems are Go

This from the Golden Bay Air Facebook page...

Great news - Our 5 yearly re-certification is complete! Online bookings are now available out to 30 November 2019 for all our scheduled flights and shuttles between Wellington - Takaka - Nelson - Karamea - Brown Hut. Other services like on-demand shuttles, rental cars and charters are also available for booking.

Our Summer schedule from 1 December 2018 will be loaded at the end of June. If you would like to be notified when this is available for booking email us at info@goldenbayair.co.nz to be notified of our summer schedule.

Thanks everyone for your support and patience while we underwent our re-certification process - this took longer than we expected, so special thanks to our friends in aviation who stepped in to help keep the service running through this period - Pelorus Air, Nelson Tasman Air and Air Kaikoura, with special guest appearances from a few others! We are now in a great position to develop the service further so watch this space...😉

19 May 2018

First International and Growing Domestically

Air Chathams flight 581 to Norfolk Island on the departure board

Off to Norfolk Island today on a charter was Air Chathams' Convair 580 ZK-CIE. This was the first international air service the company has flown. The company is considering to establish a regular service to Norfolk Island and a critical aspect of that discernment process is knowing the needs of the islanders, building the relationship and seeing if the company can make it work.

Convair 580 ZK-CIE on arrival at Norfolk Island on 19 May 2018

Meanwile progress is being made on reinstating an Auckland-Kapiti service...  

National's Otaki MP Nathan Guy held a meeting yesterday with interested parties, including Air Chathams and the Kāpiti Coast District Council, regarding Air Chathams' bid to use the airport. Mr Guy said the Kāpiti community valued having a commercial airport on its doorstep that linked with Auckland, enabling connections to be made by business travellers, those going overseas or just visiting family and friends further north. But gaining the necessary approvals for that to happen was taking longer than was anticipated. "But Air Chathams is encouraged by the progress that has taken place, and all parties remain committed to a positive outcome," he said. Air Chathams chief executive Craig Emeny said the airline had a huge potential in the region, and was working hard with the council and the airport to bring its service to the Kāpiti Coast. "As an airline we need to be meticulous in our approach, and ensure that all operational and regulatory issues have been thoroughly investigated, well before our planes touch the tarmac in Kāpiti," Mr Emeny said. "But Air Chathams is encouraged by the progress that has taken place, and all parties remain committed to a positive outcome." Paraparaumu is one of New Zealand's few privately owned airports.

18 May 2018

Tauranga on the 16th

I managed to get over to Tauranga for three quarters of an hour on the 16th of May. Always a pleasure to catch up with Peter Mole there and of course, the local traffic

Airfarm's Fletcher ZK-CRF taxiing before heading back to Matamata. 

Cessna 172 ZK-DEX was out for a quick local flight.

Rotor Work's Hughes 500D ZK-HRI roared off. With growing up on the West Coast during the venison recovery days the 500 is my favourite helicopter though sadly I never managed to score a flight in one!

Devoid of titles, Air Auckland's Piper Navajo ZK-JGA. Sunair chartered JGA and used it to operate the doctor service between Whangarei and Kaitaia while the company was grounded. Still hoping the East Coast service will resume and make my life a little easier! 

Three Bombardier Q300s, ZK-NEC


and ZK-NEW

And picture of the day... my first sighting ot Yakovlev Yak-55M ZK-YKV. Would have loved to see it fly!

Wanaka a Real Possibility?

I must admit, I was fairly sceptical about Wanaka being on the Air NZ radar but the ODT has been doing some good research... This is obviously under serious consideration.

Have a read. The three questions I have from these articles are...
  • If Air NZ started WKA services ould this mark the end of Warbirds over Wanaka??? 
  • Is Wanaka extendable enough for long haul international flights???
  • Is it time for Air NZ to invest in regional jets - eg Embraer195s - given ATRs are often full and our airport infrastructure is struggling to provide adequate numbers of gates???

Air New Zealand is ready to put on daily direct jet flights between Auckland and Wanaka later this year, according to an informed source who asked not to be named. But, there is a big question mark over whether Wanaka Airport would be ready to handle them. The Otago Daily Times has been told Air New Zealand would like to begin operating jet flights in the 2018-19 summer but is constrained by Wanaka Airport's infrastructure. The airport is owned by the Queenstown Lakes District Council and leased to the Queenstown Airport Corporation. Queenstown Airport chief executive Colin Keel said yesterday it was ''encouraging'' airlines were expressing interest in Wanaka. Asked if the airport was ready for commercial flights to resume, Mr Keel referred the ODT to the corporation's new ''fact sheet'' brochure. It says the airport would need to be certified to be used for regular scheduled passenger services. As part of that, it would need check-in and baggage handling facilities, security systems and infrastructure for water, waste and fuel as well as services for other transport options. Wanaka Airport currently has a small waiting room, two public toilets and some car parking. Air New Zealand operates the Airbus A320, which carries 170 people. It needs 1.9km of runway. Wanaka Airport has a 1.2km runway. Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon, in a staff message on Monday, singled out Wanaka while discussing regional air services. He said the company was ''actively considering options for other ports, such as Wanaka.'' Lake Wanaka Tourism general manager James Helmore said the resumption of flights to Wanaka was ''inevitable''. He was aware of the airline's interest in the number of passengers flying into Queenstown Airport who had Wanaka as their ''primary destination''. ''They've tracked all those numbers and they are watching those numbers grow.''

But does Wanaka want it???

The Wanaka community has "limited ability" to stop its airport becoming a destination for passenger jets, even if it wants to. That is the view of Queenstown Lakes District councillor and Wanaka Community Board chairman Quentin Smith, commenting on an Otago Daily Times report Air New Zealand would fly jets into the airport this summer if its infrastructure was up to scratch. The council owns the airport but in March leased it for 100 years to the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC), which is now in charge of operations, planning and development. Mr Smith said councillors now had no more knowledge of what was planned at the airport than the general public. "I suppose one of the disadvantages with QAC managing the airport is that we don't have as much visibility of their corporate plans as we would have as a council-run airport." He noted, however, QAC had made "a strong commitment" to consult the community over the airport's strategic direction. He believed QAC was "ready and motivated" to invest and he would not be surprised if it happened reasonably soon. The infrastructure required for jets the size of Air New Zealand's Airbus A320, carrying 270 passengers, would include a major extension to the runway and the provision of such things as baggage-handling facilities, departure and arrival lounges, car parking and other transport links. Asked if Wanaka wanted jets, Mr Smith said "I think it's very much a double-edged sword. "It seems to fit with the strategic approach to a two-airport district that the QAC have promoted, but the social impact and noise impact on Wanaka as a community certainly has the potential to be unfavourable." There was also likely to be an effect on recreational aviation. Publicly, QAC has said only that expressions of interest from airlines like Air New Zealand was "encouraging" and any comment "around specific routes or business decisions to return to Wanaka" would need to come from Air New Zealand. Deputy Mayor Calum Macleod said yesterday he was sure QAC would be "well aware" of Air New Zealand's intentions. "We've all been saying that it's going to be a paradigm shift when the airport at Wanaka changes to accepting national and then international flights. "It certainly will be a game-changer." He believed the infrastructure to deal with jet aircraft would require millions of dollars of investment by QAC. Cr MacLeod said a straw poll of Wanaka people would show the majority were "reasonably happy to be able to jump on a plane and fly to Christchurch or Auckland direct". "In terms of welcoming more visitation and more tourists, well, that's a whole different debate."

17 May 2018

A Gloomy Day at Taupo

The Bay Trust Rescue Helicopter Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HZN at Taupo on 11 May 2018

Rotors off - Mid West Helicopters ' Hughes 500E ZK-IFS at Taupo on 11 May 2018

Helicopter Management ZK-ISG at Taupo on 11 May 2018

Royal New Zealand Navy Kaman SH-2F Seasprite NZ3617 at Taupo on 11 May 2018

Piper Malibu ZK-ORZ at Taupo on 11 May 2018

16 May 2018

Return to Wanaka?

Air New Zealand is considering restoring flights to Wānaka as part of a plan to grow its regional network by 20 per cent during the next five years. The airline copped flak for its handling of its pull-out from Kāpiti earlier this year, however, chief executive Christopher Luxon in a note to staff said the company was committed to ensuring all regional centres currently receiving air services would continue to do so. ''In addition, we are actively considering options for other ports, such as Wānaka,'' Luxon said. The airline flew there from Christchurch between March 2004 and 2013 through its subsidiary Eagle Air using a Beech 1900D. However, since then the tourist town has boomed and Wānaka Airport has expanded, with occasional charter and private jet flights. The Otago Daily Times reported in March that tourism injected an estimated $502million annually into the Wānaka economy, creating jobs and sustaining livelihoods. The region has been ranked the top in New Zealand for percentage growth in visitor spend for more than two years, recording 17 per cent growth this past year on top of 20 per cent growth the previous year. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has been a vociferous critic of Air New Zealand's provincial operations and yesterday again attacked the airline after revelations of domestic fare increases. ''The people of Gisborne, the people of Whangārei have pointed out the flights are so regularly cancelled that they're wondering whether Air New Zealand should permanently own a bus service,'' Jones said. In his note to staff Luxon said the regional aviation market in New Zealand had never been more vibrant or healthy. ''Air New Zealand competes with Jetstar, from the four times larger Qantas Group, in the bigger regional centres'' The airline pulled out of Westport, Whakatāne and Kaitāia following a review in 2014. Luxon said the airline was losing $1m a month, or $52 per customer on a return journey, flying to 15 towns across New Zealand in inefficient and expensive 19-seater aircraft. ''Clearly it would have been unsustainable and irresponsible not to confront this reality – so we totally overhauled and reset our regional business and network to deliver sustainable future air services and lower pricing to regional customers,'' he said. ''The bottom line is that we have grown our services to regional New Zealand at twice the rate of New Zealand's GDP growth and at the same time have been able to lower average regional fares by 6.25 per cent since 2015.''

12 May 2018

Norfolk Island Tours

Pukekohe Travel, which has for a number of years offered tours to the Chatham Islands in conjunction with Air Chathams, is now advertising week long tours to Norfolk Island using Air Chathams. Three tours are currently being offered departing on 25 October, 1 November, and 8 November. For tour details see :

Whether this is a precurser to a regular service or part of a new service remains to be seen. What it does show, however, is Air Chathams are not going to enter into a new venture without having done its homework.

09 May 2018

5 extra Dunedin-Aucklands

Dunedin's air connections with Auckland have increased again. A further five return flights a week have been added to an already busy flight schedule at Dunedin airport. The flights, announced yesterday, are a big turnaround from just four years ago when flights were being dropped and the city's business community was up in arms about the difficulty of flying to other centres to do business. Air New Zealand announced at the Trenz tourism conference in Dunedin yesterday it would start operating five additional return A320 services per week between Dunedin and Auckland from October. That would add about 70,000 seats a year between the cities, increasing capacity on the route by about 25%. There will be new 6am flights from Dunedin on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 8pm flights from Auckland on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The new flights are timed to allow Dunedin business travellers to spend a full day in the city, leaving early in the morning and coming home in the evening. The flight times also enable connections via Auckland to international destinations, without requiring long waits or overnight stays. Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said yesterday the company had a good relationship with Dunedin Airport. Airport chief executive Richard Roberts, he said, was ''a force of nature'' who was regularly in Air New Zealand's head office, and the new flights were an endorsement of the work done. ''We are committed to growing services between Dunedin and Auckland and working closely with Dunedin Airport. ''Dunedin is a really important part of Air New Zealand's network, so it's tremendous to see continued strong demand for services to and from the city,'' Mr Wallace said. Mr Roberts said the news of the extra flights was ''great for Dunedin and the region''. ''It's connecting us to Auckland and the rest of the world.'' The latest statistics coming from the Government showed the tourism boom was only going to keep getting bigger, he said. ''We can sit here and do nothing and it will grow. It's whether we want to be ahead of the curve.'' The airport helped get Air New Zealand to sponsor and work with iD Dunedin Fashion Week, so the relationship was for the betterment of everybody in the city and region, he said. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said while he had not had time to process the news, on face of it the announcement was ''absolutely fantastic''. ''Because we're a small city, that connectivity can only help us.'' It showed how well the city was working together with companies like Air New Zealand, he said. Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said the announcement was the culmination of the work of many different groups. ''It's the response to a demand and shows the strength of Dunedin's relationship with Air New Zealand.'' Business leaders in Dunedin were ''very busy'' creating and maintaining relationships with New Zealand's largest city, he said.

08 May 2018

Air Auckland - the new name for FlightHauraki

FlightHauraki has been officially renamed as Air Auckland. The company's two aircraft, Cessna 172 ZK-MDV and Piper Navajo ZK-JGA were registered to Air Auckland on the 5th of December 2017 but now the company's Facebook page has been changed. As yet a new website has not been launched.

Previously FlightHauraki ran a scheduled air service from North Shore Airport to Whangarei and Kerikeri and from North Shore to Great Barrier Island. The base was later moved to Ardmore from where the airline operated a schedule on the Ardmore-Waiheke Island-Great Barrier Island route using Cessna 172s, a 206 and 207 and a Piper Archer.

06 May 2018

Norfolk Island Update

While there has been a lot of focus on a potential Air Chathams' service to Paraparaumu, progress is also being made on a possible service to Norfolk Island. There have been a couple of Norfolk Island Regional Council Mayor's update posts on the Norfolk online news website.

On the 29th of the March 2018 the Mayor wrote...  

VISIT OF DELEGATION FROM AIR CHATHAMS "I am sure the community would agree with me that the visit of the delegation from Air Chathams — CEO Craig Emeny, General Manager Duane Emeny and Airline Adviser Noel Gillespie — was well timed and positively received", Mayor Adams said. "It was a pleasure for the Deputy Mayor Cr McCoy, the General Manager Lotta Jackson and myself to welcome the Air Chathams team to Norfolk in the arrivals hall on Monday and my thanks to Australian Border Force District Manager Alex Jamieson-Wilby for the courtesies he extended to us all. I particularly thank the Administrator for hosting a reception at Government House to give key tourism operators and stakeholders the opportunity to meet with the Air Chathams team. Councillors had broad and informative discussions with the Air Chathams team Tuesday afternoon and I can assure the community that the conversation between the Council and Air Chathams will definitely be ongoing", the Mayor said. "My thanks to Bart Murray for providing the opportunity and venue for us to meet"

Then on the 20th of April 2018 the Mayor wrote...

AIR CHATHAMS "In my Mayors Update on 29 March I reported on the visit of the delegation from Air Chathams - CEO Craig Emeny, General Manager Duane Emeny and Airline Adviser Noel Gillespie — and at the time I said that I could assure the community that the conversation between the Council and Air Chathams will definitely be ongoing", Mayor Adams said, "It is therefore good news that I can report that at the meeting of Council last Wednesday the 18th of April Council passed a resolution to authorise the General Manager to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement with Air Chathams. With the delegation of authority to the General Manager in this matter further updates will in the main be provided by the General Manager," the Mayor said. 

I look forward to hearing about the further updates...

05 May 2018

Air NZ not an Option

Reinstating an air service out of Masterton would not necessarily be a panacea for Wairarapa’s transport ills, says Air New Zealand’s regional affairs manager Ian Collier. In Masterton at the invitation of the Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce, Mr Collier encouraged the community to have a conversation about an air service but said it should be considered as part of a wider look at the region’s transport requirements. “I absolutely think the conversation is worth thrashing out . . . but you need to look at it from a holistic point of view – in the past we haven’t had that,” he said. “It may be that the region is better served by rail, if money is put into it.” Air New Zealand ran a service in Masterton through its subsidiary, Eagle Air, from 2009 until it was cancelled in 2013 due to a reduction of the Beechcraft fleet of 19-seater aircraft. The smallest aircraft it flies now is a 50-seater. In 2014, Masterton District Council accepted a proposal from Vincent Aviation to operate weekday flights over its rival, Air Chathams, but the company went into liquidation later that year and the service never eventuated. Mr Collier said making the route economic and attractive to customers would be challenging. Along with a large enough customer base, an air service would have to be able to offer to attract passengers in sufficient numbers, run a schedule that was more attractive than driving to Wellington or Palmerston North where there are multiple flights each day and contend with competition among operators. “We’ve already said we don’t see a future in Air New Zealand flying in and out of Masterton,” Mr Collier said. “But we have also said there is a conversation about air services to be had.” Mr Collier said a discussion on the region’s transport needs should involve roading and rail representatives, as well as air service providers, and central government. “If we are invited to the table, we will contribute. We have a view from 35,000 feet up, and this is what we are looking down,” he said. If a smaller operator was to take up a Masterton-Auckland route, Mr Collier said it would be challenging to set up the infrastructure and systems to offer a service that allowed passengers to check-in baggage in Masterton and have that automatically transferred to a connecting Air New Zealand flight. “You have to be prepared to put your brand and reputation on the line. “If your bag doesn’t turn up, I know where you would turn to for answers.”