30 November 2018

air2there Reporting

This on Stuff yesterday...

Regional airline Air2there based in the lower North Island has been placed into receivership and a Piper Navajo plane and two engines have been seized. The company was set up in 2004 as a city hopper service based at Paraparaumu flying small aeroplanes between Wellington, Masterton, Blenheim and Palmerston North. Its clients included the Department of Corrections transferring prisoners, Life Flight Trust's medical patients, SPCA puppies, Air Force personnel, and even coffins. Company owner since 2008, Richard Baldwin, could not be contacted but aviation consultant Irene King understood the company had lost its aviation operating certificate some weeks ago. The companies placed into receivership included Air Wellington and Kingair. Receiver John Fisk of PricewaterhouseCoopers said he had yet to identify all debts but expected they would run into millions of dollars. Meanwhile, King said it was difficult to recover from a suspension by Civil Aviation Authority. "It happened to Sun Air in Tauranga earlier this year and took months and thousands of hours of work to get them back in the air. We knew the company well and CAA's concerns didn't square with our experience of that company. "It used to cost about $6000 to $12,000 but now it's between $35,000 and $40,000 to get an aviation operating certificate. "These little companies can't survive under the regulatory cost pressure. I'd say you need up to $3.5 million in your hip pocket to operate now. "The supply of pilots is really tricky for these airlines too." King said it wasn't a question of competence at CAA but rather its own lack of resources and the priorities it had to deal with, such as Air New Zealand's new fleet. "The CAA Act puts enormous power in the hands of the regulator and when it loses confidence in a company it's extremely hard to restore. You really need a third player that can bring the parties together. It's not so much the physical or engineering safety. It's more about the management of system controls." King said the services carried out by Air2there would have been relatively easily picked up by other operators such as Sounds Air which flew some similar routes over Cook Strait. Company owner Richard Baldwin was also the Paraparaumu airport manager when he bought the company in 2008. It had been using his Piper Navajo for two years. With internet ticketing, people wanting to travel between the five centres could walk onto the aircraft with minimal waiting time at either end. Air2there faced new competition from late January 2015 when Sounds Air introduced thrice daily weekday flights between Paraparaumu and Blenheim. Sounds Air didn't pick up the traffic it anticipated and reduced its schedule. Air2there's last flights took place in September or October.

I found the reporting on air2there's demise interesting... It raises a couple of obvious questions... 
  • What about the Caravan and Beech Super King Air?
  • I had heard the rumours of losing the Air Operating Certificate. But no real information was given here. What was the story?
...but in the end I feel the article actually nuddies the waters.


  1. LifeFlight may be desperate for another plane now their usual back up is gone

    1. They have their own second J32 already so haven’t been using The Air2there plane for the last year

    2. Yes they have a second j32 but they also used the 200 up until the end

    3. The 200 was/still is parked up at Napier missing a propeller

  2. It’s sounds to me Ms King was touting for business in the article, “need a third player that can that can bring the parties together”. Has she taken over from Peter Clark as the go to person on all things Aviation? Interesting times, watch this space.