16 June 2019

Having a Look See at Masterton



Air Chathams is interested in operating air passenger services from Masterton Airport but will only do so if there is significant local support. In response to questions from the Times-age yesterday, Air Chatham General Manager Duane Emeny confirmed the airline had been in talks to operate in Masterton, and had put in a registration of interest when Masterton District Council [MDC] called for them late last year. A document on a government tender site last November said the Wairarapa community and council were seeking registrations of interest because both the Masterton District and Wairarapa region were experiencing strong growth in business and population. Emeny said support from MDC would be essential for a deal to proceed. Depending on the type of aircraft operated, work on the runway could be required, he said, but he would not give further details. The air service would be scheduled and would operate from the existing terminal but Emeny said discussions had not got down to details about what kind of planes would operate or the frequency of the service. There was no timeline for a deal to be done and the airline says it would need to see a significant investment and support package prior to agreeing to provide any service. "We would be interested if it makes sense commercially. That ultimately rests with the investment and support," he said. "The airline has not made any decisions on this service provision at all and does not want to give any false hope to the community." The airline has been operating on the Chatham Islands for more than 25 years and an Auckland base runs services to Whakatāne, Whanganui and the Kapiti Coast. It was interested in Auckland to Masterton services in 2014 after Air New Zealand pulled out but Masterton District Council picked Vincent Aviation, which collapsed soon after. MDC would only say that it was in "very early discussions" with a potential service provider. The tender document last year said local businesses and outside businesses operating in Masterton had expressed a desire to support a carrier operating into the town. It says the council wished to conduct the project in a collaborative and open manner with potential suppliers. It talks about "some sort of financial contribution from council" and a due diligence to protect any ratepayer contribution. Air New Zealand established a regular Masterton-Auckland daily service in 2009 but pulled the plug in early 2014. An air passenger service linking Masterton and Auckland operated by Vincent Aviation was due to restart in mid-November of that year but the airline went bust. The council's decision to choose Vincent Aviation meant there was no immediate need for a runway extension for which $180,000 had been ear-marked had Air Chathams won the day. Wairarapa's passenger air service history is a chequered one, with Wairarapa Airlines finally opting out in 1997, having failed in its bid to make the Masterton-Auckland route profitable. It was followed by Air Wairarapa, which was short-lived and failed financially, and, subsequently, the Air New Zealand-backed Eagle Air service.


15 June 2019

Guess what?



Originair has delayed their start up yet again...  The airline's reservation system shows the resumption of flights has been delayed once again until the 31st of July 2019. 

14 June 2019

Air Chathams Commence ATR operations to Whanganui



Air Chathams commenced ATR 72 operations into Whanganui today with ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO operating the late afternoon flight 3C 704 from Auckland returning as 3C 709. It then operated the evening flight 3C 708 from Auckland to Whanganui.   

The ATR will operate the Friday afternoon and evening Whanganui flights, Saturday's 8am flight departing from Whanganui, all Sunday flights and the 6.45am departure on Monday to Auckland for the next few months.

Air Chathams' ATR 72 ZK-MCO on its first scheduled visit to Whanganui on 14 June 2019

AWP at WHK

Thanks to Alan for sending in these pics of Air Chathams' Douglas DC-3 ZK-AWP at Whakatane on 10 March 2019








13 June 2019

REAL Tonga going International




Real Tonga and Nauru Airlines aim to start operating joint twice-weekly flights from Tonga to Fiji and New Zealand starting in November this year. Today, June 13, Nauru Airlines and Real Tonga Limited announced entering into an aircraft wet lease arrangement. Nauru Airlines will provide Real Tonga with crewed aircraft for these flights. The initial flight schedule will include twice weekly return flights from Tonga to Nadi and Auckland, with the intention of increasing services to three times per week as soon as possible.  Subject to obtaining all necessary government and regulatory approvals, the airlines anticipate that services will commence in November 2019. Real Tonga Managing Tevita Palu said the new arrangement introduces the commencement of international operations, which have been serviced by foreign carriers. He said this will be the first time in recent years a local carrier will be able to provide these much needed services and provide an enormous benefit to the Tongan community, through better connectivity and more capacity. These new services will benefit tourism and create new employment opportunities for the local community, he said. Nauru Airlines Chairman Trevor Jensen said Nauru Airlines is now considered one of the leading carriers in the Pacific.  “We are incredibly excited about this new endeavour and the benefits it will bring to the people of Nauru, Tonga and the Pacific.” He said plans are already underway to develop services for Real Tonga to other locations, including Brisbane and other Australian cities. Real Tonga currently offers domestic flights throughout Tonga, while Nauru Airlines services seven countries across the Pacific with five aircraft. Nauru Airlines also celebrated its 50th anniversary in February.

Source : https://matangitonga.to/2019/06/13/real-tonga-nauru-airlines-agree

11 June 2019

Surprise Visitor

A surprise visitor to Hamilton on 10 June 2016 was Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLV. It flew Woodbourne to Hamilton and return.

10 June 2019

Originair seek ground staff



Originair  are advertising for a full-time person and a part-time person to fill Customer Service Personnel positions in Nelson. The advert which was placed on Trade Me on the 7th of June 2019 says "Our ideal candidates will be customer focused with the ability to carry out a range of duties, including passenger check-in functions, assisting with reservations and inquiries, office administration and possibly baggage handling duties. This position includes weekend, early morning, evening and public holiday hours. Flexibility with work hours is important to accommodate the overall airline schedule, especially in times of disruption due to weather or operational issues." Applications close 14 June 2019.


Meanwhile, Originair's reservation system shows flights recommencing on the 5th of July with flights being offered between Nelson and Palmerston North on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There are no flights listed to New Plymouth or Napier.

09 June 2019

Motor Holdings (Air Services) - NZ's first single engine IFR air service




Motor Holdings (Air Services) Ltd operated two regular air services. The first was the air service between Ardmore and Waiheke Island  which operated as Rex Air Charter banner (see https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2011/04/rex-air-charter-waiheke-island-service.html) and the other was New Zealand's first single engine IFR service out of Dunedin. This is its story.

Following Skyways Flite Services Ltd going into receivership on 22 September 1982 Motor Holdings established a flying school at Dunedin's Momona airport using Cessna 152s and Cessna 172s under the direction of Dave McMillan, who was Motor Holdings Aviation Ltd's South Island Area Manager.

The following year, in September 1983, Motor Holdings (Aviation) Ltd began an overnight air freight service between Dunedin and Christchurch using Cessna U206G Stationair ZK-EKJ (c/n U20604282) which was leased from Rangitikei Air Services. The service was flown on behalf of TNT, and connected with a Mount Cook Hawker Siddeley 748 overnight freight run to and from Auckland. This service had begun in June 1983 when TNT introduced an overnight freight service to move South Island goods to Wellington and Auckland on a guaranteed overnight door-to-door service using chartered Mount Cook's 748s.

The first Motor Holdings service was flown on the 19th of September 1983 by Dave Horsburgh. On that day he flew a route check from Dunedin to Christchurch with Neville Kennard, overnighted, and then with Neville as part of route check, flew the freight back to Dunedin the next morning, the 20th of September 1983 .



The aircraft that launched the Motor Holdings service, Rangitikei Air Services' Cessna 206 ZK-EKJ at Dunedin's Momona Airport on 19 September 1983, the first day of the service.

Dave Horsburgh was the CFI of the Dunedin Motor Holdings Flying School. He had started his aviation career as a junior instructor with the Skyways and while with them gained a B-cat instructors rating, along with instrument and multi-engine ratings. The schedule for Motor Holdings' air freight service saw flights leaving Dunedin for Christchurch in the early evening for Christchurch, and returned in the early morning. This was the first single engine IFR air service in New Zealand.

The success and reliability of the night freight run quickly led to a requirement for larger capacity and Cessna 210N Centurion II, ZK-TWA (c/n 21063347) started being used on the service from the 7th of November 1983. Most days both the Cessna 206 and Cessna 210 were used as there was so much freight. Later another instructor at the Flying School, Geoff Russell, continued to provide extra using Cessna U206F Stationair ZK-DKB (c/n U20602170) on a VFR basis.


Cessna 210 Centurion ZK-TWA at Hokitika on 14 September 1984

With freight volumes Motor Holdings acquired Cessna 404 Titan Ambassador ZK-TNT (c/n 404-0603) in March 1984. The 1980 Titan had approximately 1400 airframe hours and was fitted with new engines and propellers before being ferried to New Zealand. The purchase was arranged and overseen by Dave Macmillan, and the ferry flight was piloted by Earl Covel of Transair Incorporated. With the introduction of the the Titan the service eas extended to Wellington and each week night the Titan flew a return Dunedin-Christchurch-Wellington freight service. Chief Pilot for the Titian operation was Peter Vincent who shared the work with Dave Horsburgh.


Cessna 404 Titan Ambassador ZK-TNT incorporating the TNT logo as its registration at Dunedin on 7 June 1984...
...and at Christchurch on 12 August 1984 

At this time the flying school was operating a fully NZ IFR Cessna 172P Skyhawk II, ZK-EXE (c/n 17275232), and two Cessna Cessna 152s, ZK-EWG (c/n A1520996) and ZK-EWI (c/n 15285392). An article in NZ Wings said "While freight has gained a major role, the Flying School operations have not been allowed to fall off. A good flow of students continue from PPL through to instrument and instructor's rating. Miscellaneous charter, air taxi, parachute drop and joy-riding complete the very full range of activities now conducted at Dunedin airport."


Cessna 172 ZK-EXE at Timaru on 10 March 1984
Cessna 152 Aerobat ZK-EWG at Dunedin on 30 March 1985

The air service to Christchurch and Wellington, however, was short lived. After a relatively short time of Motor Holdings operating the Titan on the courier service TNT cancelled the contract because they couldn’t find enough high revenue freight to make the service viable. TNT had been aiming at the courier type market but were consistently having to fill the Titan with ordinary, low cost freight. The final service was flown by Dave Horsburgh in Cessna Titan ZK-TNT on the 31st of August 1984 . The Titan was subsequently sold to a USA buyer in late 1984. 

Motor Holdings decided to change in direction and focus more on its workshops, parts supply and sales. Motor Holdings Flying School, which by then had become Flightline, was closed in 1987. The old Flying school office was sold and physically removed to a local dairy farm.


A big thanks to Dave Horsburgh and Dave Macmillan for their help in preparing this post.

08 June 2019

In the Climb



There was a nice piece on Air Chats in the NZ Herald yesterday (see below). As part of it there was a graphic that said Air Chathams has 3 Convairs while until recently the airline has been operating 5. As it happened yesterday I received an email saying ZK-KFH's airframe is for sale. I heard through the grapevine that apparently ZK-CIF has also been removed from service. That leaves three in service, ZK-CIB, ZK-CIE and ZK-KFL. This would seem to indicate that the transition from the Convairs has started and this in itself will make the next months interesting as Air Chathams develops its regional air services. The article indicates ATRs in the short term with the airline still being interested in Boeing 737s.

Expressions of interest are sought for the purchase of a 1953 Convair 340/580 freighter fuselage #42. Ready for conversion to Food truck, Coffee Cart, Air BNB or Film prop.


Engines, vital equipment and  landing gear will be removed. Wings will be trimmed and assistance given to prepare fuselage for transport of Auckland Airport.



Air Chathams founder Craig Emeny knows what it's like to be in a jam. In the mid-1990s his airline was under siege from an Air New Zealand subsidiary offering cut-rate fares between the mainland and the islands. At just a decade old, tiny Air Chathams was in trouble. “I should have been done and dusted within a number of months," says Emeny, who had just committed $3 million to buying a Convair plane. "That was pretty traumatic when you're suddenly confronted with that and all that debt." But Emeny appealed to the people he had helped 10 years earlier: the cray fishers whose live product he flew out to make them more money than they'd ever known, and the hundreds of Chathams and Pitt Island residents for whom he'd provided vital links to the mainland. Air NZ subsidiary Mt Cook Airlines had halved fares and freight rates and appointed a marketing staffer for the route. But Emeny held his nerve and didn't drop his prices. His customers stayed loyal, some borrowing against crayfish quota to lend him money to hang on. "I explained that if I didn't get that I would be out. They never got that from Mt Cook. Everybody knew what was going on." With help also from the Chathams development agency, he weathered the storm. And Mt Cook Airlines, which was moving to new planes, blinked and Emeny had the route to himself. "One of the things that I do right was that I had been fairly open and had talked to Mt Cook about whether we could do things together. We were just in different places about what doing things together meant." Although Emeny stresses that the relationship with Air New Zealand is now a good one, he says nobody can understand the power of what a large company can do until they start exercising it. "When it does happen you do under-stand what's happening — you either give up or have a crack" The respite was short-lived. The following year Emeny had a bruising fight with the Civil Aviation Authority over the licensing of pilots to fly Metroliner planes. It turned out to be a paperwork issue and Air Chathams survived that one too, despite a grounding that lasted nearly two months and reportedly cost it $600,000. Years later, in Tonga when the political environment suddenly shifted, it was forced to pull out there. But in a country where dozens of small airlines have failed, Air Chathams is still flying — and growing. 

Flying crayfish 
Raised in Stratford, Taranaki and trained as an RNZAF engineer, working on everything from DC3s to Skyhawks, Emeny got his pilot's licence in 1979 and was drawn to the Chathams by a job flying the 38km hop from Pitt Island to Chatham Island. In 1984, when he was 28, he saw the opportunity to set up his own airline with wife Marion and fly much further — to New Zealand, as the mainland is known among Chatham Islanders. The airline would use a Cessna Super Skymaster to fly live crayfish, which would fetch up to five times the price of those processed on the Chathams. "A lot of people thought you couldn't do it because of the distance, the time and the product sensitivity. Fortunately they were wrong. The airline was founded on helping break a crayfish processing monopoly." The demand from Chatham Islanders for seats on the planes grew, and they initially had to fit in around the main freight services. But charter services enabled Chatham Islanders to attend rugby matches, races and family occasions. Aircraft also operated for sight-seeing, emergencies - including flying a great white shark attack victim back to the mainland in 1996 - and offshore search and rescue work. There was the odd scrape on the Chathams' rugged airfields. The worst accident was a water ditching near Pitt Island in 1999, from which four passengers and the pilot escaped safely. Expansion to a modest mainland network was steady. Emeny says in order to make the Chathams-mainland service viable, he had to expand elsewhere. That included freight operations throughout New Zealand and, around 2005, the airline made its foray into the Pacific, flying charter services in Tonga. As Chathams Pacific, it went on to be the kingdom's domestic carrier' until 2013. That came at a good time as the global financial crisis was biting in New Zealand, and Tonga was a popular posting with staff. But it came to an end when a political shift saw the Tongan Government start its own airline with a Chinese plane. But throughout, serving the Chathams, population 600, was at the forefront. "We kept on thinking how do we make this thing work, how do you make it viable? The Chathams were never strong enough to support the operation. "To do that I had to be doing other things." 

Filling the gaps 
Those other things came in the form of air charter tours around the country and freight work, but Emeny says the airline wasn't in great shape. Then in 2015 an opportunity was presented when former foe Air NZ announced that it was pulling out of Whakatāne, Kaitaia and Westport. It was closing Eagle Air and moving from 19-seater Beechcraft planes to larger aircraft. The economics weren't stacking up for the national carrier, but for second-tier airlines like Air Chathams there was a great opportunity. The airline had also found a base at Auckland Airport, although its registered head-quarters remain on the Chathams - just over two hours away. With enthusiastic backing from locals, it swooped into Whakatāne. "For us Whakatāne was a test case," says Emeny. "Air NZ didn't really know about us, they didn't realise how effective we could be in those markets." Air NZ left behind some equipment and, importantly, some intellectual property which helped enormously. Air Chathams deployed Metroliners on the Whakatāne route. Air NZ handled 29,000 passengers a year on the service at one stage, but that fell to 18,000 around the time it departed and now Emeny's airline serves about 25,000 passengers a year in and out of Whakatāne. A year later, another opportunity came up. "Air NZ saw that it worked and we kept very dose with them in a very good way so that when Whanganui happened they were very keen for us to be involved." Air Chathams flies between the city of 45,000 and Auckland, and Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall says the airline has built huge loyalty. "They have personalised it they're not a behemoth that we struggle with," he says. To fly south on Air NZ, locals must drive to another airport. Palmerston North, an hour away, is the closest. Air NZ's withdrawal hurt the city. "We did feel betrayed," says McDouall. "It was a sucker punch at the time." Air Chathams again filled the gap when Air NZ announced it was pulling the pin on Kapiti-Auckland services last year, a move that sparked a bitter local backlash and ignited political heat Emeny has sympathy for the bigger airline. The Kapiti operation was expensive to operate for Air New Zealand and came with high air traffic control costs, which his airline now faces. John Nicholson, chief executive of Aviation NZ, says Air Chathams plays a very important role in connecting regional New Zealand. "If we look at regional growth in New Zealand, and the opportunities for regions to leverage off tourism growth for example, Air Chathams can play an increasingly important role." 

Future flight path 
At Air Chathams' Auckland base around the middle of the afternoon, things are bustling. The tiny operation Craig Emeny founded with his wife Marion has grown to an airline of 120 people — 35 pilots, 35 engineers, cabin crew and back office staff. Family is still at the heart of the airline. Marion Emeny helps look after the accounts. "She pays the bills, I normally create them," says her husband. Sons Duane and Matthew fly for the airline, which is about to embark on its next big mission: scheduled inter-national flights to Norfolk Island. Again, it’s a case of filling the gap where others have called time. In the hangar, work is being done to modify one of the Convairs for the flights that begin in September. Duane Emeny expects flights to appeal to group travellers, building on charter work the airline has already done. Flights will be once a week at first but there are hopes of increasing frequency. The airline is buying ex-Air NZ ATR planes as it phases out its Convairs, which are being scrapped. It’s also shopping for Boeing 737s. But a move into the jet age will only happen if the planes can land on the Chathams, and that depends on extending the runway there. The 1360m strip needs to be lengthened by another 300m to 400m, and funding could come from the Provincial Growth Fund — a decision that is expected to be made soon. Expansion would fuel tourism on the islands, where limited accommodation and round-trip air fares of around $900 limit numbers to about 2000 visitors a year. The airline is also finalising an interline agreement with Air New Zealand following upgrades to its booking system. This will allow Air Chathams tickets to be sold through Air NZ and will smooth baggage flow. While there have been reports that the Provincial Growth Fund fund once looked at investing in a regional airline, it wasn't Air Chathams, says Craig Emeny He says the airline is not looking for external investors. Two years ago Emeny was named an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to aviation and the Chathams community in the Queen's Birthday Honours. "Our future is as a family airline with two sons involved in it — we've never looked for outside capital," he says. Retaining control means it is able to stay loyal to the people who shared the financial risk in the early days of Air Chathams. "Those things are never forgotten —that's where our heart is."

Source : NZ Herald, 7 June 2019

07 June 2019

Delay to ATR service



Air Chathams' introduction of its larger ATR 72 aircraft to the Whanganui-Auckland route has been delayed by a week. The 68-seater plane was due to start operating on Friday, June 7, servicing the route at weekends for three months over winter. However, Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny said the flights would now begin on June 14 due to an administrative delay relating to the aircraft's maintenance programme. There was no issue with the airworthiness of the plane, he said. Air Chathams contracted Air NZ for the maintenance of the ATR 72 it bought in February. "The maintenance contract ran through until May 31 and an application to extend the contract was made directly to Air NZ," Emeny said. "Unfortunately the extension was received by Air Chathams later than anticipated and the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have not been able to review the maintenance programme in sufficient time to allow the ATR to fly this weekend. This is very unfortunate as events have been planned in Whanganui to celebrate this milestone for the community. Air Chathams hopes the region will continue to support the ATR flights when they commence the following weekend on June 14."

Source : 

05 June 2019

Sunny Hamilton


The only ATR 72-500 I haven't flown on - ZK-MCB at Hamilton on Queens Birthday on 3 June 2019

04 June 2019

Hamilton Fog

One of the joys of flying out of Hamilton these days is fog!


On 23 May 2019 I sent this photo in a text at 8.16am saying the fogs rolled in... 

14 minutes later my ride to Wellington rolled in.

Motto - Don't take the 7.50am out of Hamilton

03 June 2019

Ewan Smith CNZM



Congratulations to Air Rarotonga's Ewan Smith on his CNZM

Ewan Smith has been made a companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Cook Islands business and tourism. He founded and has been managing director of Air Rarotonga since 1978, which has made significant contributions to the social and economic development of the Cook Islands. Air Rarotonga grew from transporting around 3000 to 4000 passengers a year to flying more than 70,000 passengers annually by 2013. Smith has overseen the development of an Air Ambulance service by Air Rarotonga, including the acquisition of a jet aircraft which has allowed the service to extend to other Pacific countries. Under his leadership Air Rarotonga has trained and employed almost exclusively Cook Islands-born pilots and support staff. He has contributed to a number of community causes through Air Rarotonga, which have included sponsoring or providing free air travel for sport or charitable groups, as well as sponsoring the education of a number of Cook Islands children up to tertiary level. He has been chairman of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation since 2011. He has played key roles in developing long-term relationships with tourism partners such as Air New Zealand. He was President of the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce in 1996 and provided leadership during the Cook Islands economic crisis, championing the establishment of appropriate legal governance frameworks.

Source : https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12236732


My post on Air Rarotonga can be found here : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2014/06/air-rarotonga-airline-of-cook-islands.html

02 June 2019

New Home for Topdresser....

Douglas DC-3 ZK-AZL has found a new home at Hamilton's Te Kowhai aerodrome... I must admit I didn't know much about AZL and was surprised it never saw airline service. Here are photos from my collection of AZL...

Douglas DC-3 ZK-AZL with Airland NZ at Christchurch

Douglas DC-3 ZK-AZL with James Aviation at Hamilton in 1963

56 years later and a few kilometres down the road, the restored ZK-AZl at Te Kowhai

Could this be the start of a national topdressing museum???

Peter Lewis has written a history of AZL on the Wings over New Zealand site with some great photos, see http://rnzaf.proboards.com/thread/17606/photo-thread-douglas-dc-3?page=4

The same site has a thread on it moving to Te Kowhai, see
http://rnzaf.proboards.com/thread/27694/ag-dc-zk-azl-kowhai

29 May 2019

ATR for Whanganui



The airline will put its new ATR 72 on the Whanganui-Auckland route for weekend flights for the next three months. The ATR 72 can seat up to 68 passengers and is used for charters around New Zealand. It is a twin-engine turboprop with six-bladed propellers, developed and produced in France and Italy.  Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny said after nearly three years of operating the Whanganui service, peak flight schedules were now at a level to be able to support the higher-capacity aircraft. "This is a brilliant achievement for the airline to have grown demand for the Whanganui sector in such a short space of time," Emeny said. "Our success is very much due to the support and commitment of the Whanganui community from the beginning and the continued support and loyalty shown over time. Whanganui has become like a second home for us so we are really proud to bring our newest and biggest aircraft into the region over winter." The ATR flights to Whanganui will start on June 7 with a 3pm departure from Auckland. For the next few months, Friday afternoon and evening flights, Saturday's 8am flight departing from Whanganui, all Sunday flights and the 6.45am departure on Monday to Auckland will use the larger plane. The ATR charter flights will resume in September. Mayor Hamish McDouall said Air Chathams had serviced the community well since it took over the Whanganui-Auckland route. "With an increase in Whanganui's population and the interest we are getting from the rest of the country, I am not surprised that an ATR72 has been added to their fleet to assist with greater passenger demand," McDouall said. "Air Chathams helps maintain Whanganui's relationship with our biggest city, whether that be for work, to visit friends and family, or as a gate-way for international travel."


Air Chathams' ATR 72 ZK-MCO at Auckland on 31 March 2019


28 May 2019

Frequency Adjustment



Air New Zealand is reducing flights on domestic routes and reviewing airfares as tourism slows and operating costs rise. An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said from July it would begin making some mostly off-peak frequency reductions on its domestic trunk routes and some regional services. Nelson, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Blenheim and Tauranga would all be affected. Some fares were also being reviewed but there was no plan to change lead-in fares on domestic and regional services. "Given the impact of the sustained rise in the cost of jet fuel and the impact of other cost increases in areas such as airport landing fees, we are currently reviewing some fares," the spokeswoman said. In an attempt to stimulate slowing domestic tourism growth Air New Zealand cut entry level airfares by up to 50 per cent on 41 domestic routes in what was described as the airline's biggest pricing shake-up in more than 10 years. The result was more than 750,000 seats a year available for less than $50. On Monday Air New Zealand told investors its full year earnings could be up to $60 million lower than forecast. It was the second time earnings had been revised in 2019. In January it downgraded its earnings before tax guidance to between $340m to $400m. That was down on its 2019 earnings guidance of $425m to $525m, made in 2018. Following the January downgrade the airline launched a company-wide review as it seeks to reduce costs by 5 per cent. Since then Air New Zealand has deferred $750m in aircraft capital spending, and $50m of deferred spending elsewhere.  Air New Zealand's executive team also voluntarily froze their salaries for at least the next 12 months. ​Rising jet fuel costs are forecast to hit hard in the coming year. In mid-May Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said increases in fuel price would result in an "eye watering" $200m additional costs this year compared to last year and this was expected to continue into next year. On Monday Air New Zealand announced it was making a multi-billion dollar investment in eight new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners. The order would give Air New Zealand one of the youngest, most efficient jet fleets in the world, Luxon said.

25 May 2019

Tauranga Choppers


Robinson R22 ZK-HUV at Tauranga on 16 May 2019 
Guimbal Cabri G2 ZK-IIF at Tauranga on 16 May 2019  - love the sky


Hughes 369E ZK-HCD at Tauranga on 17 May 2019
Bell 427 ZK-IIG at Tauranga on 17 May 2019
Oceania Helicopters' Aerospatiale Squirrel returning to Tauranga from a spraying mission on 18 May 2019

24 May 2019

Interesting Partnership





Air Chathams and INFLITE charters working together 

Air Chathams is stepping up its services significantly this year while still retaining its reputation as the friendly, people-first airline that’s been operating in New Zealand and the Pacific for over 30 years.  In streamlining the charter sales processes, INFLITE Charters has been appointed the General Sales Agent (GSA) for all new charter business in New Zealand for the Chatham Islands founded airline. INFLITE Charters is New Zealand’s largest private air travel and aviation solutions company, formed in 2012 by the amalgamation of three long standing aviation companies; Helilink, Skylink and Air National.  They excel in the provision of private jet, turbo prob and helicopter charter, VIP transfer services, exclusive scenic flight packages, customised events, commercial air lifting and specialist freight. Operating throughout New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, INFLITE now has the facility to use Air Chathams’ Metroliner, Saab, Convair and the new ATR 72 for charter work exclusively within New Zealand.  Current scheduled passenger flights will naturally be prioritised during operations and existing charter agreements will remain in place as a direct relationship with Air Chathams. “We look forward to further growing our charter capacity with INFLITE Charters, especially knowing their reputation and dedication to a high level of customer service.  It’s great to take up the opportunity to work together as both companies have extensive experience throughout New Zealand and are flexible enough to meet the demands of the sector in terms of location, size and aircraft capability,“ said Duane Emeny, General Manager of Air Chathams. Paul Aston, Charter Sales Manager of INFLITE Charters agrees “Premium service delivery is core to our business as is the reliability and experience in corporate charters that Air Chathams brings to the sector.  The fact Air Chathams operations span the length and breadth of the country is a great fit for us.  We are excited to expand our charter offering for the benefit of our customers, INFLITE and Air Chathams.”

Once an "airliner" - ZK-EKS

I caught up on Piper Cherokee 6 ZK-EKS at Tauranga on 17 May 2019. The last time I photographed it was 30 years ago at Oamaru! I clearly have been in the plane spotting business too long!




In the 1980s ZK-EKS was used by two operators offering regular air services...



NZ Air Charter flew regular services from Ardmore to Dargaville, Kaikohe and Kaitaia in Northland, to Great Barrier Island as well as to the Coromandel and Raglan.





Air North Shore operated regular services between Dairy Flat/North Shore Airport and Great Barrier Island.



23 May 2019

Remember scheduled Mu2 flights to Tauranga???

On 17 September 2019 I took Westpac Air Ambulance's Mitsubishi Mu2G ZK-KOH at Tauranga...



...and it reminded me of when Air Central operated Mu2s into Tauranga.


Mitsubishi Mu2G ZK-EKZ at Tauranga on 25 November 1982 

Mitsubishi Mu2G ZK-EON at Tauranga on 25 November 1982. 

The timetable at the time had two Mu2s on the ground at Tauranga at the same time as seen above 

For more on Air Central see



My only flight in a Mitsubishi Mu2G was in N671MA  (which became ZK-EKZ). It was on demonstration to Hokitika-based Westland Flying Services in December 1980 and I got to fly Hokitika-Greymouth-Hokitika it. It's STOL capability was ideal for Greymouth and being pressurised it was ideal for Westland FS's service to Christchurch. It handled Greymouth easily and climbed like the clappers!

For more on Westland Flying Services see