31 March 2020

Back with Sunair

Further to the post on Waiheke Wings yesterday Cessna 172M ZK-CBZ (c/n 17261691) has returned to the Sunair fleet being registered to Sunair Aviation Ltd on the 1st of March 2020.

The aircraft was registered to Auckland Seaplanes Ltd on the 7th of October 2018 for their Waiheke Wings operation.

30 March 2020


From the "to be confirmed" file, it seems Auckland Seaplanes and its associated operation, Waiheke Wings, have been grounded by CAA as opposed to the covid-19 virus.

I looked at flying Waiheke Wings in January and was told no bookings until after April!

Do you know who is Awesome in New Zealand?

Can anyone help me...  I'm wanting to find a Flickr account holder called "Awesome in NZ"


I'm wanting to see if I can use some of their photos in three future posts.

If you know who the person is and their contact details can you please email at   westland831@gmail.com

29 March 2020

Air Napier still flying freight

Regional airline Air Napier hopes the government wage subsidy will help the Hawke's Bay-based company keep staff employed, after it cancelled its 11 weekly chartered flights between Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, on Tuesday. “At the moment all scheduled flights have stopped but we are still doing freight and helping the freight providers to bring their stuff into Gisborne,” airline chief operating officer Mike Brown said. “We are also carrying on with some of our health duties for the district health board, in terms of moving doctors and equipment for them when they need it.” Chief executive Shah Aslam said the airline stopped flights following the announcement of higher Covid-19 Alert Levels on Tuesday. “The big one for us it to get those 11 flights a week back on as soon as possible after the four week period.” Mr Aslam hoped to be able to retain all 13 staff members, with the help of the government wage subsidy but there would be maintenance and fuel costs also to consider.

28 March 2020


Commercial Helicopters Ltd, that operates Fly My Sky has been sold. The Companies Register show that the new owners are Dawn and Scott Young took over ownership on the 20th of March 2020. They are also apparently the owners of Embraer 820 ZK-DSY.  It is certainly most unfortunate timing for the new owners.

Commercial Helicopters Ltd was formed by Keith and Robyn McKenzie in 1980 to take over James Aviation’s Taumarunui helicopter operation using a Hughes 500D.

In 1987 the company diversified into fixed wing operations trading as Mountain Air and offering scenic flights over the Central North Island’s Volcanic Plateau from near the Chateau using a Cessna 172 and Cessna 206. As Mountain Air grew Piper Aztecs and Britten Norman Islanders were added to the fleet and scheduled flights between the North Island skifields and Auckland were introduced.

In 1998 the Civil Aviation Authority grounded Great Barrier Airlines and to maintain its services the grounded airline chartered aircraft from its competitor, Northern Air, and also two aircraft from Mountain Air. This was the precurser to Mountain Air entering the Great Barrier route in its own right. 

The Chateau based fixed wing operation was sold to Brent and Kathy Guy in May 2007. 

In June 2008, the decision was made to rebrand the Mountain Air operation as Fly My Sky. This involved the Great Barrier Island operation and the Taumarunui-based helicopter operation. 

The helicopter operation ended in February 2017 when the Hughes 500 was sold. 

Fly My Sky currently offers flights between Auckland and Great Barrier Island and on Hobbiton flights between Auckland and Matamata. 

For a history of Mountain Air see

For a profile of Fly My Sky see

Auckland Council guarantees freight of essential goods to Great Barrier Island

Auckland Council has guaranteed the delivery of essential goods and services to Aotea / Great Barrier Island to ensure residents have access to critical medical supplies, medical testing material, fresh food and essential service workers. Mayor Phil Goff said, “Great Barrier is highly dependent on small aircraft flights and less frequent ferries to access essential products and services. With Alert Level 4 isolation rules restricting almost all travel, commercial operators are unable to provide the services they normally would, putting pressure on supply chains servicing the island. “To ensure the well-being of our Great Barrier Island residents, arrangements were needed quickly to ensure transport services could be maintained at a basic level sufficient to provide the essentials. “Auckland Council, through its Auckland Emergency Management function, will guarantee one flight per day to ensure essential services, products and workers continue to be available to all Great Barrier residents.” The flights will be operated by Barrier Air and will enable the delivery of 1.2 tonnes of goods to be delivered every day. The first delivery has already been completed. Waitematā and Gulf Ward Councillor Pippa Coom said the news would provide real comfort to Aotea/Great Barrier Island residents. “These are extraordinary times and stressful for everyone, but for remote communities there are additional pressures. That’s why the council took urgent steps to confirm this arrangement because it deals quickly with what was a unique and critical concern for the Great Barrier community. I’m really pleased that we can reduce some of the stress on Great Barrier Islanders by guaranteeing the delivery of essentials like medical care and food supplies.” Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham says, "The community of Aotea Great Barrier Island is eternally grateful to Auckland Council for granting them funds out of council's new $22.5 million contingency fun. "The grant will enable Barrier Air to continue to provide vital service to the island.  They hold the contract to carry the island's medical needs bringing in medical supplies, PPE, medical and nursing staff along with pharmaceuticals. On departure they carry all laboratory specimens and COVID-19 swabs. They are also contracted to bring all mail to and from the island. These services are crucial to the island's wellbeing and we thank Mayor Phil Goff, councillors and staff for their support during this difficult time."

27 March 2020

Chatham Islands Life Line

In accordance with New Zealand Government requirements Air Chathams is able to operate air freight services and to transport essential people.

The airline will be monitoring the islands need for freight services on a weekly basis.

The schedule for next week will be as follows:

Tuesday 31st March
Depart Chatham Islands @ 1000 Local - Arrive Christchurch @ 1130 Local
Depart Christchurch @ 1300 Local - Arrive Chathams @1545 Local

Thursday 2nd April
Depart Chatham Islands @ 0930 Local - Arrive Auckland @ 1130 Local
Depart Auckland @ 1400 Local - Arrive Chatham Islands @ 1700 Local

Friday 3rd April
Depart Chatham Islands @ 1015 Local - Arrive Wellington @ 1130 Local
Depart Wellington @ 1300 Local - Arrive Chatham Islands @ 1530 Local

The purpose of these flights is to provide essential freight services between the Chathams and Mainland NZ. However, there will be passenger seats available on some flights for transport of essential persons only. 

Part 2

Fly My Sky will continue to provide regular flights to and from Great Barrier Island during the Covid-19 period. After the end of today (Friday 27th March):
1. Freight will be available including Food Boxes.
2. Passengers; only Essential Service Passengers permitted as per Govt guidelines.

Source : Fly My Sky facebook page

Great Barrier Island life line

✈️ Barrier Air will be operating a daily flight schedule throughout the lockdown period. This will be limited to all freight including Food Boxes, medicine, medical samples, NZ Post and any other freight. The airline will also be carrying essential staff critical to the island. Barrier Air is also working with Countdown and Pak N Save to ensure that slots are easier to get for Great Barrier Island locals. The airline's facebook page says, "We understand the importance and critical nature of people on the Island being able to order food. We will update you on this issue as soon as we have further information."

Source : Barrier Air facebook page

26 March 2020

A question about the Mechanics Bay amphibians...

I've had an inquiry about the rebranding of NZ Tourist Air Travel amphibians into the Mount Cook Airlines colour scheme.

In particular the researcher is looking for answers to these sort of questions...

  • Were the aircraft repainted at Auckland or were they flown to Christchurch?
  • If they were repainted at Auckland did the Mechanics Bay engineers do it or did they have specialist painters and or sign writers involved? 

Any information would be appreciated - either as a comment below or email me at westland831@gmail.com and I will pass the information on

For those of you who don't know what I am talking about check out...


25 March 2020

NZ5828 from Wellington to Hamilton

As the sun goes down on domestic air services for the next few weeks here is a glimpse of my last flight, NZ 5828 from Wellington to Hamilton on 16 March 2020.
What a stunning sight
Let's hope our airlines are back in the air soon

Kia kaha to our airlines...

Air Chathams wishes to advise all flights from Auckland to Whakatāne, Whanganui and the Kāpiti Coast will be suspended from midnight on Wednesday 25th March. We will however, be operating a flight from the Chatham Islands to Wellington and return on Friday the 27th of March 2020. 

Source : Air Chathams facebook page

Hey guys, just to let you know, Air Napier scheduled flights will be suspended till further notice and changes to the NZ Lockdown.⁠ In the meantime, part of our service is still essential & we'll continue to serve with our air freight service and chartering aircraft for medical purposes.⁠

Source : Air Napier facebook page

The Barrier Air team wish to advise all of our customers that flights from 11:59 pm Wednesday 25 March until midnight Sunday 26 April have been cancelled as a result of the recent announcement of New Zealand's change to level 4 COVID-19 alert effective in 48 hours. We will have updated information regarding freight services available tomorrow (24th March) for all Great Barrier Island customers. Barrier Air wishes to thank you all for your patience and continued support throughout this challenging time. Stay safe out there!


Barrier Air has added 2 RESIDENTS and FREIGHT flights to our schedule Thursday and also 1 flight Friday. The focus of these flights will be to carry FREIGHT and RESIDENTS (you must reside on Great Barrier Island and have proof that you are a resident) only needing to get home to GREAT BARRIER ISLAND and people needing to return back to Auckland Airport. 

The Flights are as follows:

Thursday 26th March to Great Barrier Island 🌴

Great Barrier Island - AUCKLAND 🌃

Friday to Great Barrier Island 🌴

Friday to Auckland 🌃


Source : Barrier Air facebook page

Hi everyone - following the PM's announcement today we have put on extra flights in the next 48 hours to get people to where they need to be for the New Zealand wide shut down to combat Covid-19. Scheduled flights will then cease for 4 weeks from 7 pm Wednesday 25 March. We may be able provide air charter services for people providing essential services to combat the virus but we will update on this later. Kia Kaha and be well all - The Team at Golden Bay Air

Source : Golden Bay Air facebook page

Today we’re announcing the temporary suspension of all international flights, as well as a significant reduction in our domestic services across New Zealand from late March until at least 31 May 2020. We understand the huge impact this will have and we’re doing everything we can to support our customers.

Source : Jetstar NZ facebook page

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement today (23 March 2020) all Originair flights have been suspended until further notice effective from Tuesday 24 March 2020. Thank you and please stay safe – the Originair team

Source : Originair facebook page

Flights from midnight Wednesday 25 March until midnight Sunday 26 April are currently cancelled as a result of the recent announcement of New Zealand's change to level 4 COVID-19 alert level effective in 48 hours.

Source : Sounds Air facebook page

In light of the recent Government announcement, Sunair Aviation will be ending all non-essential air services for the next 4 weeks. It is unfortunate, but the health and safety of our country is a top priority at this time. Enjoy this time with your loved ones, stay safe and we hope to see all our services restored in due time. ❤️🛩

24 March 2020

A forgotten air service...

Covid-19 and Motiti Island...

Motiti Island used to be a thriving community, trading seafood, maize and kumara with the mainland. A remote island might sound like the ideal spot to ride out the Covid-19 crisis, but the residents of isolated Motiti island say they have been forgotten. Twelve over-70s are in lockdown on Motiti, some 10km off the Bay of Plenty coast. Another three over-60s are also hunkering down there, but they have no way to get grocery supplies or fuel for their generators from the mainland. And as the country counts down to tomorrow's shutdown, they are beginning to panic. Kaumatua Nepia Ranapia, 71, lives on the island, with his son Daniel, 35. "I am thinking the worst. If anything happens here with our old people. How are we going to address that?" There are no shops on Motiti. Food is either grown on the island, or sent over on the 10-minute flight from Tauranga. It goes as often as residents need, but costs around $150 for each trip. The flights will stop on Wednesday. Ranapia says the islanders have been desperately trying to find supermarkets in the Bay of Plenty that will deliver to Tauranga Airport. And Government officials aren't picking up the phone to help. "There are more old people than young people here. The majority of them are women and a lot are widows. "We need food supplies before everything shuts down on Wednesday. The supermarkets won't deliver anymore, they are too busy. "We've got to get the food through and we've got to get the gas bottles and generators. Some are on generators for their power. They rely on gas for cooking food. "We always bulk buy on Motiti, but we can't do that no more. We split fares between two so we can bring out the food together, but we can't do that either. We need someone to co-ordinate with the delivery men from the supermarkets. "I've been trying to get hold of the DIA [Department of Internal Affairs]." Motiti Island, just off the coast of Tauranga, is home to just 30 people and free of large scale development. There is no basic infrastructure on Motiti. Residents rely on generators or solar panels and draw water from freshwater springs. It is wholly privately owned. It does not fall under any local authority council and so islanders do not pay rates. But they also receive no services: no streetlights, no roads, no sewerage. The school closed half a century ago. The Minister of Local Government (currently Nanaia Mahuta) is a kind of nominal mayor, with day-to-day administration handled by DIA. Doctors must be flown over. And residents are worried none of them will able to get a flu shot. "Everyone is locked down in their homes. They stopped the doctor service. Helicopters are only for emergencies, generally if you are ill you go by plane." Nepia said residents also won't be able to monitor people arriving on the island by boat. "We have got no control and there is no plan for Motiti. We are very vulnerable here." The island has around 30 permanent residents, most still living close to the settlement of Karioi. Many of the properties are holiday homes, with owners visiting their ancestral land a couple of times a year. Mahuta is in isolation following a visit to Australia but a spokesman said she would respond to questions later on Tuesday.

Source : 

Island Air connect Motiti Island... for my profile of Island Air see : 

22 March 2020

Commuter Cuts

Picton-based Sounds Air is halving its flights from Monday after the coronavirus, and attempts to contain the disease, began to take its toll on passenger numbers. The airline will cut its flights to 150 each week, from 300 flights, Sounds Air general manager Andrew Crawford said. The routes will be unchanged.  The airline began to see a drop-off in customers from last Monday. However, the Government's warning that people should halt domestic travel is expected to have a significant impact on demand. Air New Zealand has been thrown a lifeline by the Government in the form of a $900 million loan, but needs to meet certain provisions including not closing any routes on its domestic network. The airline had already planned to cut domestic capacity by 30 per cent because demand was affected by Covid-19. Crawford said Sounds Air was also in talks with the Government about some financial assistance. As part of a $12.1 billion support package for New Zealanders and businesses, the Government will provide an estimated $600m injection to support the aviation sector, excluding Air New Zealand and the protection of supply chains. "So it depends whether that comes through or not. The Government's already stated it's talking to us, Air New Zealand, Air Chathams. We fly to a few destinations no-one else flies to, so I think it's important to keep that air service going," he said. Key Sounds Air routes were Wellington to Westport, Wellington to Taupo, and Blenheim to Christchurch. The airline, which carries mainly passengers, did not expect business to get back to normal for a year. Sounds Air employs about 100 staff. If the country goes into full lock-down, the company will "just park up and send the staff home and say 'come back' when we can", he said. "We see April and May as being very quiet, then quickly ramping back up after, but who knows - but looking at China and other places it seems to be get on top of the curve and get back into the swing of things again. "Whether that's the way it plays out here, but that's what the Government's trying to do here I believe." The airline expected to hear back from the Government this week, after "a very good conversation with the Minister of Transport last week".

Air Chathams was also significantly reducing all flights from this week. As well as providing flights to Kāpiti, Auckland, Whanganui and Whakatāne, the airline is a lifeline for the Chatham Islands, which lies off the east of New Zealand's South Island and has a population of 650. "We're the flying Countdown order, we fly everything ... we are their State Highway," general manager Duane Emeny said last week. Weekly regional flights between Kāpiti, Auckland, Whanganui and Whakatāne would be cut from 100 to 65, and flights between the mainland and island would drop from six to four a week. The business was "waiting with bated breath" to hear whether they would be supported by the Government's $600 million stimulus to help the aviation sector cope with the virus outbreak. 

Aviation expert Irene King said there was no doubt Sounds Air and Air Chathams would survive, but in a different shape. "I think probably Sounds Air is in better shape because it's carrying people into Wellington, and out of Wellington, with tremendous job security," King said. "Anything that's driven out of Wellington or into Wellington, depending on how you look at it, is probably doing quite well." As the seat of Government, Wellington would be fairly insulated compared with Auckland, which is a commercial centre, and tourist centres such as Queenstown, Rotorua, which would take a massive commercial hit. "That's where the big implications are, and Air Chathams don't run anything into Wellington." Air Chathams would be quite severely hit because aside from tourism there was no pressing reason, such as commuting, for people to travel many of the routes it flew, she said.

I don't agree with Irene King's comments, especially in regards to Air Chathams... Both Air Chathams and Sounds Air have good domestic markets, Sounds Air particularly to Wellington and out of Blenheim and Air Chathams particularly to Auckland but also the Chathams passenger and freight service which does fly to Wellington. I don't think either airline has a real shortage of passengers - the communities concerned are very committed to their airlines! However, not flying and both airlines having little traffic as the country closes down will have a huge impact on both airlines. 

NZ8322 from Nelson to Wellington

Nice photos of Nelson and Wellington on my flight to Nelson on 16 March 2020