08 December 2018

Waiheke Wings - The only commercial flight operator based on Waiheke Island

UPDATED January 2023

Chris Sattler is a German national, now settled in New Zealand. Aviation was always a passion for Chris and before going to university he was in the German Air Force. He then worked in the finance industry, where he specialised in airline finance.

In 2013 he founded Auckland Seaplanes Limited which operates two Beaver floatplanes from the Auckland waterfront. In December 2017 he became a half owner of Waiheke Island's Reeve Airfield. Then, on the 3rd of September 2018, he founded Waiheke Wings Limited. 

On the 14th of December 2018 Waiheke Wings was officially launched as the only commercial flight operator on Waiheke Island. In a press release it was stated that, "Starting with two 4-seater Cessna aircraft Cessna 172s, ZK-CBZ (c/n 17261691) and ZK-MDX (c/n 17276405) for the summer, Waiheke Wings will provide scenic flights around the island and the Hauraki Gulf as well as transfer flights to many locations in the North Island including Auckland Airport." It operates scenic flights from Waiheke Island's Reeve Airfield.

In the press release CEO Chris Sattler said “Our seaplanes have been flying to Waiheke Island for 5 years and we are very grateful for the welcome and support that we have received from the local community. We love to showcase the jewel in the Auckland crown with flights to Waiheke’s beautiful beaches, vineyards and restaurants. With our new base and two additional aircraft, we will be able to deepen our connection to the island and provide the visitors and residents with a new and even more convenient way to appreciate the beauty of the area from the sky. Our strong environmental credentials as a “pest-free” and carbon-zero operator and one of the first signatories to the Tourism New Zealand sustainability commitments will be applied to “Waiheke Wings.” The company will also offer premium fly-and-dine packages with the vineyards bordering the airfield as well as half- and full-day excursions to the Coromandel, Matamata/Hobbiton, Rotorua and Northland.

Waiheke Wings' Cessna 172 ZK-CBZ at Pauanui on 28 December 2018

Cessna 172s ZK-CBZ and MDX on Waiheke Island - Waiheke Wings' Photo

Cessna 172 ZK-MDX at Pauanui on 27 February 2019

Cessna 172P ZK-MDX was only used during the summer of 2018/19. Cessna 172N ZK-RNX, (c/n 17273544) was added to the fleet in late October 2019.

The new Cessna, ZK-RNX at Ardmore on 15 December 2019

In March 2020, just before the Covid-19 lockdown, Cessna 172 ZK-CBZ returned to Sunair. In June 2020 the Auckland Seaplanes' Facebook page reported that an 8 seater Airvan will be based at Waiheke Airport for the coming weeks. Michael the pilot has more than 500 hours experience flying whale watching flights in Kaikoura and thought that he had seen one of the 40+ Bryde's Whales, which are resident in the Hauraki Gulf on his flight to the island! The Airvan will be used on scenic and transfer flights.

Wings Over Whales' Airvan ZK-FSR at Waiheke Island, June 2020. 

From the 2020/21 summer Waiheke Wings was using just the one Cessna 172, ZK-RNX. The airline runs regular transfer flights from Waiheke Island to Great Barrier Island which operate with a minimum of two passengers. Transfer flights also operate to Ardmore, Whitianga and North Shore on the same basis. The operator continues to offer a variety of scenic flights from and over Waiheke Island. 

Waiheke Wings' Cessna 172 ZK-RNX at Waiheke Island aerodrome on 22 October 2022

On the 13th of July 2022 Chris Sattler announced that Auckland Seaplanes and Waiheke Wings would be rebranding as Island Aviation "in the coming weeks to better reflect the growing role of wheeled aircraft and our ability to connect the Auckland region with Waiheke, Great Barrier, the Coromandel and beyond."  On the 25th of November 2022, Island Aviation began a new air service between North Shore and Great Barrier Island and from this point on Waiheke Wings operated as Island Aviation.

No comments:

Post a Comment