30 June 2018

Half a year gone and not a lot new to show for it

I don't know about you, but this year is flying...

On the 1st of January I made my predictions of what 2018 might bring to the NZ domestic scene... https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2018/01/crystal-ball-gazing-for-2018.html

However, this year has been a year of little activity on the domestic scene and where there has been activity it has brought curve balls...

Air New Zealand
I didn't pick PPQ being cut... but then I don't think it was on Air NZ's radar either. Given the political fall out I can't see more changes ahead.

Jetstar seem very quiet.

Air Chathams
I picked Air Chats as a rising star and in particular looking for Saab work. So we wait to see what happens on Paraparaumu and Norfolk Island... both looking likely to be airborne by year end. 

Sounds Air
The silence indicates no decision was made to purchase Beech 1900s. 

Barrier Air 
The second Caravan did arrive. Earlier this week an announcement for Barrier Air was promised on their Facebook site but nothing online yet. 

Fly My Sky
Nothing new.

Very quiet.

Flight Hauraki
Now called Air Auckland. I'm not sure if they are still operating Ardmore-Waiheke-Great Barrier. 

They did get airborne again. Scheduled services are minimal.

Air Napier
Nothing new.

Air Gisborne
They operate regular air ambulance and medical staff/patient flights between Gisborne and Hamilton. A pity it's not possible to book on the staff/patient flights.

Their Chieftain has been written off - the Caravan hasn't flown this year - their flights were being operated by Originair. Seems to be flights only on Fridays and Sundays now. 

Nothing new.

Golden Bay Air
Nothing new.

Stewart Island Flights
Nothing new.

27 June 2018

What Kapiti wants Air Chats seeks to provide

Business Travellers Want Earlier Flights from Kāpiti 

84 per cent of business travellers would prefer a new air service to depart earlier from Paraparaumu to Auckland, according to data released from a Colmar Brunton Poll commissioned by the Kāpiti Coast District Council. In a survey conducted during May 2018, 36 per cent of business travellers said they would prefer a 6.45am departure, and 48 per cent a 7.30am departure. Heather Hutchings, Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce Chair, says these results back up anecdotal evidence that an earlier, more frequent service to Auckland would attract more business travellers. “Local businesses have been telling us for some time that they would choose to fly from Paraparaumu if more early morning options were on offer. A 6.45am flight would enable them to be in Auckland’s CBD for the start of the business day. A better flight schedule from Kapiti has been identified as one of the reasons more people would choose to fly from Paraparaumu over Palmerston North or Wellington. Affordable fares and easy, cheaper parking are also important considerations for travellers to make and align with what we’ve heard from business in both Kapiti and Porirua. It’s important that a new flight service takes these factors into consideration, particularly if we’re to make the most of the untapped market to the south of Kapiti,” says Heather Hutchings. The Colmar Brunton Survey found that Porirua residents travelled more than 85,000 sectors to and from Auckland from Wellington, compared to only 1,672 sectors from Kapiti. “This quantifies what we know - there's a significant market in Porirua and Mana, but there is some work to be done on convincing them to head north instead of south when choosing to fly to Auckland. There is a perception it’s further to travel, but we need to be looking to the future. Travel time will significantly reduce when Transmission Gully Opens in 2020. “The Chamber supports the Kāpiti Coast District Council in their efforts to secure Air Chathams for Kāpiti Airport. These survey results have given us a much clearer picture of what travellers and business commuters are looking for in flights to Auckland and will help us get a new service off the ground quickly should it get the green light,” says Heather Hutchings. The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce exists to advance the economy by creating wealth and employment and solve local business issues by providing a collective voice for business in Kāpiti. Over 300 members in Kāpiti belong to the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce to stay connected, network and gain knowledge and support from our local membership.

Source : Kapiti Coast Chamber Of Commerce Press Release

Meanwhile Air Chathams have posted a proposed Kāpiti timetable on their website

25 June 2018

Gulf Fliers

My ride from the Gulf... I was Ethiad's Airbus 380 A6-APB from Abu Dhabi to Sydney yesterday... taken at Sydney on 24 June 2018

A few hours later I caught up with 3 of our Hauraki Gulf fliers at Auckland. Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-PIY minus stars, 

...Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-PIZ...

...and Barrier Air's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SDC were all Great Barrier Island bound from Auckland on 24 June 2018

15 June 2018

Business Schedule for Originair

Following customer requests and commencing from 11th July 2018, Originair will offer Nelson travellers a return service each Wednesday allowing a full business day in Palmerston North. This service will depart Nelson at 8:20am and arrive in Palmerston North at 9:10am, returning from Palmerston North at 5:00pm and arriving back in Nelson at 5:50pm. We hope business and leisure travellers will find this service beneficial. This service may be extended to other week days. 

14 June 2018

Kāpiti Coast District Council to Start Negotiations with Air Chathams

Kāpiti Coast District Council has unanimously agreed to start negotiations with Air Chathams on a financial support programme designed to assist them in bringing their services to Kāpiti Coast Airport. Mayor K Gurunathan says the support would be to help get the service up and running and based on the understanding that a Kāpiti to Auckland service is financially viable in the region and the anticipation that there would be no additional costs to ratepayers. Council has been working to secure a viable Kāpiti-Auckland air service since Air NZ’s decision to withdraw services  in March. This support will include funding from Council’s existing destination marketing budget. “The Council has agreed a maximum level of support it is prepared to offer over a start-up phase to help Air Chathams through that initial establishment in Kāpiti,” Mayor Gurunathan said. “Council’s in-house and commissioned research demonstrates there is support for air services to and from Kāpiti, particularly the Kāpiti Auckland route. Colmar Brunton research told us 91 per cent of people surveyed supported efforts to re-establish the passenger service. That’s a mandate from the community that they want us to keep pushing ahead on this issue,” he said. “Air Chathams expressed interest early on in providing Kāpiti with a service and has been working through all the technical and financial considerations. Any operator stepping in would be exposed to financial risk and some challenging government costs compared to other airfields. We, along with the owners of the Kāpiti Coast Airport want to help minimise this risk for Air Chathams. There’s still a lot to work through and we look forward to negotiating with Air Chathams and supporting them to bring an air service to our District.”

Source : Press Release: Kapiti Coast District Council, 14 June 2018

12 June 2018

To the pilot of NZ5823 tonight

To the pilot of NZ5823 from Hamilton to Wellington tonight

What an excellent landing in challenging conditions! Absolutely loved it!



Sounds Air adds to its expertise

Expanding New Zealand airline Sounds Air has appointed Glenys Coughlan to its board as an independent director. Central Otago-based Coughlan has extensive experience in tourism and aviation, having worked for Air New Zealand as Manager of Strategic Planning. She was also the CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand for several years and has served on the Board of Tourism New Zealand and Chaired the Board of Positively Wellington Tourism. Her current directorships include Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, which is responsible for Forsyth Barr Stadium and the Dunedin Town Hall, and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).  ATEED is Auckland’s economic development agency and its responsibilities include marketing Auckland as a visitor destination along with driving major events including the America’s Cup. Coughlan is also current chair of Outward Bound New Zealand which is based in the Marlborough Sounds. Coughlan is the part-time General Manager of Tourism Central Otago where she has been responsible for developing a new long-term industry strategy to support the expansion of the region’s economy. Andrew Crawford, Sounds Air’s Managing Director, said he was delighted to welcome Coughlan to the board. “Sounds Air is on a strong growth path and we recognise the importance of robust governance to help us negotiate the way ahead.  Glenys brings a strong set of skills and experience that will contribute to our future developments”

11 June 2018

No Saabs yet for Whakatane

Air Chathams plans to introduce its bigger 30-plus seat Saab Aircraft on the Whakatane-Auckland route remain up in the air with the Ministry of Transport delaying work at the airport. A Supreme Court ruling over Wellington Airport requires the Runway End Safety Areas at Whakatane Airport to be extended before it can be used by larger aircraft. The Whakatane District Council’s has called and accepted a tender for the work, but needs approval from its joint venture partner the Ministry of Transport. The Ministry hasn't given approval, nor has it paid its half-share of other airport works including a major runway lighting grade or past operating losses. The council’s been advised nothing’s going to happen this financial year but to keep pressing the Ministry for approval. Air Chathams meantime has been forced to use two aircraft on the Whakatane service to meet demand, and farmers who graze stock within the airport grounds don’t know what their future holds.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/1XXNews, 7 June 2018

Slow progress on Kapiti Service

The Kāpiti Coast District Council is considering subsidising an airline wanting to provide flights to Auckland. Air New Zealand stopped flights between Kāpiti and Auckland at the beginning of April. The national carrier announced in March it was cutting its daily service to and from Paraparaumu, sparking anger and dismay from locals. Negotiations between Air Chathams and the Kāpiti Coast Airport have been continuing since then. On Thursday the council will consider a proposal to offer financial support for the service. The airport already made some concessions so the route is profitable for Air Chathams, Mayor K Gurunathan said. The airport had helped Air Chathams by giving it a free lease for the first year of service, then a 33 percent discount on the lease previously paid by Air New Zealand, for another two years. The airport had also offered significant discounts on other operating charges to support the new service. Air Chathams was also feeling more positive about starting flights between Paraparaumu and Auckland now that the council had realised they might have to financially assist to make the route viable. The airport had service fees three times as high as others due to flight service costs, Air Chathams general manager Duane Emery said. It also hoped help would come from central government, through the regional development fund. In the meantime it was in the region's interests for the council to step up, Mr Gurunathan said. "I know that this airport from studies we've done there is a benefit of more than $3 million to the local economy, as it is now, without Air New Zealand operating." The council would make a decision in the next couple of weeks, Mr Gurunathan said. He couldn't comment on how much money the council would be willing to spend. There was strong support from the community to get the route between Auckland and Kapiti going again, he said. Meanwhile the local businesses were frustrated by the uncertainty, Chamber of Commerce chair Heather Hutchings said. "It's just the not knowing, it's being unsure about - is it going to be next month, is it going to be August, is it going to be September? It just seems to be ongoing and the longer it's left of course the more unsure businesses and people in the community become." The Chamber and local businesses were confident flights between Kapiti and Auckland would resume, Heather Hutchings said. 

10 June 2018

Kiwiair - A Successor to Air Albatross

Kiwiair was established in 1985 as the trading name of Gold Coast Aviation Ltd and announced its intention to operate daily flights to Turoa skifield from both Auckland and Wellington. The plan was to deliver skiers from the two main cities to the chairlift in 90 minutes. The cost, including road transport from the Ohakune airfield and a day pass, was $199.00.

Ruapehu timetable, effective 1 June 1985

The company took delivery of its own aircraft, Piper PA23-250 Aztec E ZK-KWI on the 1st of December 1985 with its arrival from Sydney. With the Aztec in the country the company was in a prime position when Air Albatross collapsed at the end of 1985. Kiwiair seized the opportunity and established scheduled flights began between Wellington and Blenheim in January 1986. Four flights a day were offered on weekdays with three return flights offered on Saturdays and Sundays. The initial demand was such that the company used a second Aztec, Piper PA23-250 Aztec F, ZK-TNH. The Blenheim service was not successful, however, and the schedule was soon paired back to an early morning weekday return service before finally petering out completely. 

Kiwiair's Piper Aztecs, ZK-KWI and ZK-TNH at Wellington on 16 January 1996

Kiwiair timetable, January 1986

On the 5th of February 1987 Aztec ZK-KWI was on a charter flight from Paraparaumu to Christchurch. Near Wellington the pilot reported a minor propeller problem and requested a landing at Wellington International Airport. While approaching Wellington from the east on a visual approach aircraft descended below the height of a ridge in the southern Rimutaka Range and flew into the terrain at about 1,500 feet AMSL. The pilot and his two passengers died in the crash. 

07 June 2018

Queenstown Changes

Air New Zealand has introduced new Wellington business day flights to the delight of Queenstown businesses, but placed restrictions on the Christchurch route. The changes included two new return daily flights from Queenstown to Wellington on jets. However, the first flight of the day from Queenstown to Christchurch was changed from a jet to a smaller turboprop ATR. The turboprops are more likely to be cancelled in adverse weather conditions as they are not equipped with Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology. Two years ago the company announced it would install RNP on its ATR fleet by 2018, but regional affairs manager Ian Collier said there had been "technical and regulatory" hold ups. "We will certainly be ready next winter. That should help with problems on the first flight to Christchurch in winter." It was a challenge for the company to get the right mix of aircraft on every route, Collier said. "The reality is the aircraft mix we've got is not going to give us the perfect answer this winter and it will be weather dependent ... For every move we make we get a corresponding groan from somewhere." The company announced the changes at a Queenstown Chamber of Commerce get-together on Wednesday night. Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Anne Lockhart said the organisation had lobbied for four years for a Wellington schedule that allowed people to fly to and from the capital at either end of the business day. The loss of a jet to Christchurch in winter was "a step back ... but I totally understand." She urged Air NZ to continue putting a "foot on the accelerator", but also to keep working to meet the infrastructure needs of communities who were struggling to cope with growth in visitor numbers. "Not all growth is good. Someone has to pay for it ... Our message to central Government continues to be [that we need] a contribution from that very large visitor market." Collier said the company was "heavily engaged" in that ongoing conversation. "The quicker we can move on it the better to ensure there's a fair system in place to address the issues we all have."  Air NZ general manager of networks Kate O'Brien said there would be increased capacity on trans-Tasman routes into Queenstown following the end of the Air NZ-Virigin Australia alliance in late October. Air NZ would re-enter the Brisbane to Queenstown route with flights three or four times a week and retain its Melbourne route. Virgin Australia would enter the Melbourne to Queenstown market and retain Brisbane. "So there will be 28 per cent capacity growth into Melbourne and nearly 60 per cent into Brisbane coming this year," she said. Collier said the company was looking at options for flying a Wanaka to Auckland route. "We would like to do it but the priority is consultation with the community and that's something being led by the airport at the moment." Air NZ was looking ahead at long term forecasts based on Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures that put visitor arrivals at 4.5 million a year by 2022, he said. "We are currently ahead of that [growth rate]. We are doing everything we can to make sure we are match fit and more than ready for that. We're not taking our foot off the accelerator. We're here to grow."

05 June 2018

And more Tauranga flights on the cards too

Air New Zealand is promising more cheap flights and a revamp of the Tauranga Airport Koru lounge, after a decision to fund Tourism Bay of Plenty $612,000. The company provided a letter of support towards Tourism Bay of Plenty's bid to become a Destination Management Organisation, which was voted in at yesterday's Tauranga City Council meeting. Air New Zealand regional affairs manager Ian Collier said he welcomed Tauranga City Council's decision "as we've been working closely with Tourism Bay of Plenty over the past few years to support its proposed shift to incorporating destination management as one of its core functions". Collier said the airline was committed to supporting the sustainable growth of tourism in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty. "This includes initiatives such as increasing the number of seats into and out of Tauranga by around 80,000 over the next 12 months (subject to demand forecasts), offering more than 50,000 seats ex-Tauranga at less than $100, the development of a new Air New Zealand lounge at Tauranga Airport which will be almost four times the size of the existing facility, showcasing the region in our inflight magazine, working with Ngati Awa to promote White Island as an iconic tourism attraction and continued co-marketing opportunities in Australia."

More Palmy Flights

Air New Zealand will operate an additional 12 one-way business timed services per week between Palmerston North and Auckland from mid-August. The new service will depart Auckland for Palmerston North at 5:50pm Sunday-Friday, with a return service from Palmerston North to Auckland departing at 7:25am Monday-Saturday. Air New Zealand Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier says the airline continues to see strong traveller demand between Palmerston North and Auckland. "It's fantastic to be able to meet this demand, with the additional services now offering travellers from Palmerston North the option of three services to Auckland before 9am, and those returning from Auckland three flight options between 5pm and 7pm." Palmerston North City Mayor Grant Smith says, "It's great additional business capacity has been added to an already busy Palmerston North-Auckland route. Adding these extra services brings much opportunity and needed capacity for business, educational and leisure visitors' travel." Palmerston North Airport Limited Chief Executive David Lanham says, "To accommodate unprecedented demand from our regional travellers, the airport company has invested significantly in facility upgrades and so we welcome the news of Air New Zealand's investment in additional capacity on the Palmerston North-Auckland route." The new schedule will take effect from 13 August 2018.

01 June 2018

Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport...

I didn't see this coming...

Traditional rivals Air New Zealand and Qantas are planning to codeshare on 115 domestic routes on both sides of the Tasman. The planned agreement means Air New Zealand passengers travelling to Australia will be able to connect seamlessly to Qantas services throughout Australia. Similarly Qantas passengers will be carried by Air New Zealand on domestic routes here. Qantas intends to add its code on up to 30 routes on Air New Zealand's domestic network and Air New Zealand intends to add its code on up to 85 routes on Qantas' domestic network.

Full article here : https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/104387865/transtasman-rivals-air-nz-and-qantas-announce-codeshare-agreement-on-domestic-services