23 January 2019

Golden Bay Air's ZUG

Golden Bay Air's Gippsland GA8 Airvan ZK-ZUG was seen enjoying the Nelson today. The factory new Airvan arrived in the country from the factory as VH-BFN on the 28th of December 2018. Since then it has been painted in Golden Bay Air colours and readied for service at Repaircraft in Nelson.

New to Golden Bay Air's fleet is Gippsland GA8 Airvan ZK-ZUG as seen at Nelson on 23 January 2019

21 January 2019

A Glimpse at the Hauraki Gulf Operators

I have managed some plane spotting while staying in Auckland over the last few days... I was especially delighted to get photos of the new Hauraki Gulf operators...

Winning the prize for the most upmarket aircraft, are Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravans. Here ZK-SDC is on approach to Auckland on 21 January 2019. Barrier Air operate scheduled services from Auckland to Great Barrier Island and Kaitaia.

One of Fly My Sky's four Britten Norman Islanders, ZK-EVO, on approach to Auckland on 21 January 2019. Fly My Sky operate scheduled services from Auckland to Great Barrier Island and Whangarei.

One of the two operators, Air Auckland operates two Cessna 172s from Ardmore to Great Barrier Island and Whitianga. Above ZK-CXP and below ZK-MDV at Ardmore on 21 January 2019

The second new operator is Waiheke Wings which operates transfer flights from Waiheke Island. Cessna 172 ZK-CBZ was at Ardmore on 20 January 2019

Waiheke Wings is a subsidiary of Auckland Seaplanes. Their DHC Beaver ZK-WKA was at Ardmore on 20 January 2019 and wins the prize for the most exotic aircraft operated in the Hauraki Gul

The only operator not flying into Auckland is Sunair which operates services from Whangarei, Whitianga and Tauranga to Great Barrier Airline. Piper Aztec ZK-PIW was at Auckland on 12 January 2019

20 January 2019

Jetting into Auckland

Jettting into Auckland later this afternoon was Alliance Airlines' Fokker 70 VH-QQX which is operatng a Tauck Tour of New Zealand. Does anyone know if this is the last of the Alliance contract or part of the Air Chathams' contract?
Photos taken on 20 January 2019

19 January 2019

Getting Closer to Delivery

Many thanks to Cody for allowing me to use these flights of ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO which is soon to join the Air Chathams fleet. Yesterday it did a divestment flight in preparation for handover.

ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO in Air Chathams colours at Nelson on 18 January 2019 

18 January 2019

The Toroa Freighter

I was delighted to catch Air Chathams' Convair 580 frieghter ZK-KFL at Auckland today. 

The Convair features a toroa also known as the Chatham Island mollymawk or Chatham Island albatross. They are a rare albatross with a restricted range. It is striking in appearance, with a dark grey head and bright yellow bill. Endemic to the Chatham Islands, the entire population breeds on The Pyramid, an isolated, almost inaccessible rock stack located south of Pitt Island in the South Pacific Ocean. They spend most of their life at sea only returning to land to breed.

For more on the toroa see http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/chatham-island-mollymawk

The toroa was being painted by Mr G... that is, Graham 'Mr G' Hoete, a street artist from the Bay of Plenty who specialises in photorealism

Arriving back into Auckland from Blenheim's Woodbourne Airport on 18 January 2018 was Air Chathams' Convair 580 ZK-KFL (callsign CHATHAMS 580). I presume it was carrying crayfish.

For more on Air Chathams and its Convairs see :

17 January 2019

Northland on the 14th

A quick visit to Kerikeri on the 14th of January found Fisher R80 Tiger Moth ZK-DSW in the circuit

An hour down the road Cessna 150 ZK-BAD was at Whangarei 
along with Cessna 172 ZK-BZS.
I made a mistake in November, Sunair does have one Cessna 172 registered to them in the form of ZK-DPN
I was also delighted to get a much better shot of Piper Chieftain VH-OMN at Whangarei

16 January 2019

Looking to spread its wings

This post appeared on Air Napier's Facebook page late this afternoon. It woudl appear Gisborne is on the radar for scheduled flights... At present Gisborne has scheduled flights to Wellington or Auckland. Air Napier operates a weekday courier service between Napier and Gisborne (Tuesday to Saturday mornings) and return service from Gisborne to Napier (Monday to Friday).

Again, watch this space for the unfolding story

Back in the air again...

Welcome back to Air Gisborne's Piper Pa31 Panther which flew over home into Hamilton this morning from Gisborne. It has been out of the air for a spell for major check. The aircraft is a regular into Hamilton bringing doctors and patients to Waikato Hospital

15 January 2019

Fly My Sky toughing it out

A small airline that got off to a slow start will continue to run daily services to and from Whangārei after picking up business lately. Fly My Sky first flew from Auckland to Whangārei on the morning of October 29 with only its chief executive Keith McKenzie and Whangārei MP Dr Shane Reti on board. The return flight on its 10-seater Britten Norman Islander twin-engine plane had just one passenger. Since then, flights have been near capacity on the route on which Fly My Sky competes with national carrier Air New Zealand, which has welcomed the new airline's entry into the Northland market. Fly My Sky chief executive Keith McKenzie earlier blamed at a lack of booking on a lack of advertising but expected business to pick up heading into the busy festive season. Yesterday, he was more optimistic about the airline's future on the Auckland to Whangārei route. "Passenger numbers are definitely building more towards what we're after. They are still slightly slow but we're getting quite a few return and repeat customers," McKenzie said. "Obviously the timing of our flights suit our customers. We're still getting quite a few inquiries going forward and it's looking encouraging with several flights almost full." The airline flies into Whangārei twice daily from Monday to Friday, with a one-way fare of $99 including 23kg luggage. Flights leave Auckland at 6.55am and 1.20pm, returning at 8.25am and 2.45pm. McKenzie said doctors who flew with Fly My Sky from Auckland to Whangārei for work have shown an interest in flying with the company again. He said there were no plans to increase flights on the route at this stage. "The current flights need to be functioning well before we look at increasing them because it costs tens of thousands of dollars to run scheduled services each month," he said. The Auckland-based airline runs Britten Normal Islander planes from Auckland to Great Barrier Island and Whangārei.Another airline, Sunair, operates between Whangārei, Great Barrier Island, Hamilton and Tauranga, based on demand and plan to open a flight training school in Whangārei this year.

Source : 

First a tail view... now the whole aircraft...

Thanks to Peter who caught the new Air Chathams' ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO at Nelson today...

Delayed - Again!

Following on from the posts of 10 and 21 December 2018, Originair flights are still not operating and won't be starting now until at least the 22nd of February according to their reservations system.

And one again Originair's Facebook page is inviting people to book now...

14 January 2019

A picture speaks a 1000 words...

Two shots of ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO...

...at Auckland on 10 August 2015
...and at Nelson today, 14 January 2019

This is no longer the best kept secret in New Zealand... Thanks Warwick, Peter and Hugh for your pics of MCO.

Apparently MCO is going to be flying Tauck Tours around New Zealand. Meanwhile flying into Wellington today was Alliance Airlines' Fokker F70 VH-NKU for Tauck Tours work over, presumably for the last time.

Note the lack of HF aerials on MCO - so it is not going to be flying to any islands other that the North or South in the immediate future. Interestingly compare the photos of the three Saabs - https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2019/01/ciy-in-service.html - I wonder what that means!

Stay tune for this unfolding story...

The Tranzair Franchise

Tranzair was not an airline, rather it is the name under which a number of small regionals operated in association with Ansett New Zealand on a franchise basis. These airlines' flights operated with the Ansett ZQ flight designator, used Ansett New Zealand's terminal facilities as well as Ansett’s reservations system, marketing strategy, ticketing, accounting as well as ground handling facilities and staff. Some management and administration support was also provided. Astral Air Services and Rex Aviation operated all their passenger services under the Tranzair banner.

Bell Air and Northern Commuter Airlines both had their own life before operating under the Tranzair banner. 

In addition to these airlines Air Wanganui, Aspiring Air, Pacifica Air and Waterwings Airways  all flew under the Ansett New Zealand umbrella but retained their names. though in later years Bell Air operated under the Tranzair banner.

Pasted below is a summary of each of the Tranzair operations and a link to where the full details can be found...

Operated Wanganui-Wellington

Following Eagle Air's take over of Air New Zealand's Friendship service from Wanganui to Auckland, Air Wanganui operated the Wanganui-Wellington route 3 days a week under the Tranzair from the 9th of April 1990. The service was short-lived.

Post completed - to be published in 2019

Operated Wanaka-Queenstown

Aspiring Air was not formally part of Tranzair but operated flights connecting Wanaka to Ansett New Zealand's services at Queenstown from 1987 to early 1988.

Post completed - to be published in 2019

Operated Napier-Auckland and Napier-Wellington

Astral Air Services operated scheduled services between Napier and Auckland and Napier and Wellington. Services began on the 5th of May 1991 but the airline closed 53 days later.

Post completed - to be published in 2019

Operated Whakatane-Auckland and Whakatane-Palmerston North

On the 5th of March 1990 Bell Air began a new relationship with Ansett New Zealand whereby Ansett provided terminal services in Auckland, baggage handling, ZQ (Ansett) flight numbers, "through fares" to Ansett's destinations beyond Auckland, access to their reservations system and marketing support but continuing to operate under the Bell Air name. 

By January 1992, however, Bell Air's Beech 99 was repainted into Tranzair titles but with smaller “Operated by Bell Air” titles on the side of the aircraft. The Beech 99 flew its last Whakatane-Auckland-Whakatane service on the 6th of November 1995. This was the last Tranzair flight and scheduled service operated by Bell Air.

The full Bell Air story can be found here

Operated Whangarei-Auckland and Whakatane-Auckland

From the 16th of April 1990 Northern Commurer Airlines' Nomad was replaced by Piper Chieftain ZK-NCA which was painted in Ansett's Tranzair colour scheme.

On the 7th of November 1995 Whakatane's Tranzair service, which had been operated by Bell Air, was replaced was taken over by Rex Aviation using Bandeirante aircraft and Northern Commuter Airlines’ Chieftain. This relationship continued until Tranzair was rebranded as Ansett New Zealand Regional.

The full Northern Commuter Airlines' story and a fuller account of its Tranzair operation can be found here :

Operated Christchurch-Alexandra-Wanaka-Christchurch

On the 6th of January 1988 Pacifica started a new route from Christchurch to Alexandra and Wanaka using a Piper Chieftain. Marketed as the Edgewater Express the service was designed to fly guests to Wanaka’s Edgewater Resort hotel as well as other holidaymakers and visitors and the airline connected with Ansett New Zealand flights at Christchurch. Pacifica Air's services ended in February 1989.

The Pacifica Air story and its relationship with Ansett New Zealand 
can be found here :

Operated Nelson-Wellington, Blenheim-Wellington and Palmerston North-Wellington, Whakatane-Auckland and Whangarei-Auckland

Rex Aviation began services between Nelson and Wellington under the Tranzair banner on the 7th of July 1989. The following year a new route between Wellington and Blenheim was operated from the 7th of October 1990 with Palmerston North added to Rex Aviation’s Tranzair network on the 4th of November 1990. The initial services to Palmerston North were operated by a Piper Chieftain but apart from these early services Rex Aviation Embraer Bandeirantes. 

On the 7th of November 1995 Rex Aviation deployed a Bandeirante to Auckland and this aircraft, along with Northern Commuter Airlines’ Piper Chieftain, was used to operate Tranzair’s service from Auckland to both Whakatane and Whangarei. 

On the 29th of February 1996 the Tranzair branding was changed to Ansett New Zealand Regional. 

The full Rex Aviation story 
and a fuller account of its Tranzair operation can be found here :

Operated Te Anau-Queenstown and Queenstown-Milford Sound

Waterwings Airways was not formally part of Tranzair but operated flights connecting Te Anau and Milford Sound to Ansett New Zealand's services to and from Queenstown from 1987 to 1998. Cessna and GAF Nomad aircraft were used.

Post completed - to be published in 2019

The Ansett New Zealand Regional Franchise

Ansett New Zealand Regional was the new name for the two remaining airlines that had previously operated under the Tranzair name in association with Ansett New Zealand on a franchise basis. On the 29th of February 1996 Tranzair became Ansett New Zealand Regional and Rex Aviation's Bandeirantes and Northern Commuter Airlines' aircraft were rebranded accordingly. 

Pasted below is a summary of each of the three Ansett New Zealand regional operations  and a link to where the full details can be found...

Operated Rotorua-Auckland

In October 1998 Air National introduced a British Aerospace J32EP Jetstream, ZK-ECN (c/n 967) to its fleet. The aircraft was named “City of Rotorua” and began operating Auckland-Rotorua flights on behalf of Ansett New Zealand Regional. It was never painted in Ansett New Zealand Regional colours. It continued to do this until Ansett NZ was taken over by Qantas.

Details of Air National's Jetstream operation 
and a fuller account of its Ansett NZ Regional operation can be found here :

Operated Whangarei-Auckland and Whakatane-Auckland

The Northern Commuter Airlines operation of Ansett New Zealand Regional services was shortlived. On the the 3rd of November 1996 the Whakatane-Auckland service was withdrawn and this marked the end of Northern Commuter Airlines involvement in the franchise with the Whangarei service being taken over entirely by Rex Aviation Bandeirantes. 

The full Northern Commuter Airlines' story 
and a fuller account of its Ansett NZ Regional operation can be found here :

Operated Nelson-Wellington, Blenheim-Wellington and Palmerston North-Wellington, Whakatane-Auckland and Whangarei-Auckland

There was no immediate change after the Rex Aviation fleet was branded as Ansett New Zealand Regional but on the the 3rd of November 1996 the Whakatane-Auckland service was withdrawn. This is was followed by the withdrawal of the the Whangarei-Auckland service on the 1st of August 1998.

1999 saw the replacement of the Bandeirante fleet with three British Aerospace Jetstream 32s. 

On the 23rd of March 2000, News Corp. Ltd. sold Ansett New Zealand and Rex Aviation to New Zealand consortium Tasman Pacific Group. The Ansett New Zealand Regional fleet of Jetstreams that were operated by Rex Aviation were subsequently repainted in Tasman Pacific Connection’s colour scheme from the 4th of September 2000.

The full Rex Aviation story 
and a fuller account of its Ansett NZ Regional operation can be found here :

13 January 2019

Aussies in Northland et al

In NZ's northern most airport at Kaitaia today. 13 January 2019, was Piper Archer VH-BVN... 

...while down the road at Kerikeri was Piper Chieftain VH-OMN

Also at Kaitaia was Cessna 182 Skylane ZK-AFT - I hate covers!

...and the Kaitaia Aero Club's new Cessna 162 Skycather ZK-KTC

And down at Kerikeri the excitement extended to Air New Zealand Bombarider Q300 ZK-NEQ...

...and Tecnam P2008 ZK-RJN which was tramping around the circuit