29 April 2021

The West Coast's third airline

As I noted yesterday there are three airlines operating regular services to the West Coast... A few days ago I featured Air New Zealand's service to Hokitika... Yesterday I was at Westport and captured Sounds Air's flight S8 903 arriving from Wellington... and today I made my first visit to Karamea and was delighted to capture Golden Bay Air who operate non-scheduled services between Karamea and Takaka (with connections to and from Wellington) and Nelson (with connections to Air New Zealand services).

Golden Bay Air's major workhorse Gippsland GA-8 Airvan ZK-ZUG at Karamea on 29 April 2021

Karamea terminal facilities

A charter group about to depart on ZK-ZUG

Golden Bay Air's Edward closing up for departure

See you later Edward

My sister said... "why have you got three photos the same?" I like a slightly forward shot, nice shot of the wave good bye, and I like being able to read all the titles... the titles need to moved slightly rear to a nice side on shot has all the titles visible.

Thanks to a very patient brother-in-law we called into Karamea airport again after doing the Oparara Arches and I was delighted to see Helicopter Charter Karamea's Bell Longranger ZK-HKE

A couple of trampers were waiting for a flight and a few minutes later Mit arrived in Adventure Flights Golden Bay's Cessna 185 ZK-MIT.

While in Karamea I met Air Charter Karamea's Sam... He's taking a break from operating in these Covid days but look for the Beaver being seen around later. 

28 April 2021

The West Coast's second airline

There are three airlines operating regular services to the West Coast... A couple of days ago I featured Air New Zealand's service to Hokitika... Today I was at Westport and captured Sounds Air's flight S8 903 arriving from Wellington

Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLB arriving at Westport on 28 April 2021

Also at Westport on 28 April 2021 was Precision Helicopters' Bell Jetranger ZK-IRC

27 April 2021

Double Flights starting Next Week

A New Zealand domestic airline service has added a new Hamilton-based aircraft to its fleet, expanding its services. From Monday, May 3, the Originair Jetstream 32 plane will overnight an aircraft and crew in Hamilton allowing an early morning departure to Palmerston North and on to Nelson. The reverse will occur each weekday evening with the aircraft departing Nelson with a direct flight to Palmerston North and on to Hamilton departing at 5.10pm and arriving at 6pm. The service has been on Originair’s agenda since Air New Zealand withdrew the Hamilton to Palmerston North route in October last year. Originair CEO, Robert Inglis, said the morning departure between the two cities allows business travellers to get a full day’s work in Palmerston North. From here, they hope to offer double daily services between the cities. The airlines’ direct Hamilton flights to Nelson each Friday evening, returning on Sunday evening, remain unchanged, as do the Friday and Sunday services between Nelson and Wellington.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/124953609/to-hamilton-and-beyond-new-aircraft-connects-flyers-to-the-north-and-south

Morning flights leave Hamilton at 8.20am to arrive at Palmerston North at 9.20am and Nelson at 10.35am

Afternoon flights leave Hamilton at 3.20pm to arrive at Palmerston North at 4.20pm and Nelson at 5.50pm

Morning flights leave Nelson at 8.30am and Palmerston North at 10.00am to arrive at Hamilton at 11.00am.

Afternoon flights leave Nelson at 3.45pm and Palmerston North at 5.10pm to arrive at Hamilton at 6.00pm.

The double flights operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. With all due respect to Robert Inglis, business travellers would get a day's business in if the morning flights left 80 to 90 minutes earlier. 

26 April 2021

At 75-ville

Operating Air New Zealand flight NZ8836 into Hokitika on 26 March 2021 was Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEU 


The Hokitika terminal was literally jam packed and to it is goo the terminal is being extended as part of the Government's shovel ready projects

Nothing to photograph but it wouldn't be passible... OSH gone mad!

18 April 2021

Ex Kiwi

Thanks to our American correspondent who like his photo has moved to the USU. Boeing 737-3B7 N383TR was previously ZK-TLA. It was registered to Airwork Holdings Ltd  on 23 April 2007 and was operated in Australia for Toll Priority. It was cancelled from the New Zealand register on 07 June 2019 and was exported to the USA where it was registered to Interjet of Toledo Ohio as N933NZ on 18 June 2019. On 2 July 2020 it was reregistered as N383TR with Career Aviation Company of Wilmington, Delaware.

Boeing 737-300, ex ZK-TLA, now N383TR at 11 March 2021 at Fort Worth Alliance Airport

This got me thinking what Boeing 737s Airwork have operated... Have I missed any? NB two have used the rego ZK-TLB

ZK-FXJ Boeing 737-36E c/n 25264
ZK-FXK Boeing 737-36E c/n 25256
ZK-FXL Boeing 737-4D7 c/n 28702
ZK-JTQ Boeing 737-476 c/n 24442
ZK-PAK Boeing 737-476 c/n 24444
ZK-PAQ Boeing 737-476 c/n 24443
ZK-PAT Boeing 737-4Y0 c/n 24683
ZK-PAU Boeing 737-4Q8 c/n 25371
ZK-TLJ Boeing 737-476 c/n 24432
ZK-TLK Boeing 737-476 c/n 24434
ZK-TLL Boeing 737-484 c/n 25362
ZK-TLM Boeing 737-42C c/n 24813

Previously Operated
ZK-FDM Boeing 737-3M8 c/n 25016
ZK-FXT Boeing 737-3B7    c/n 23862
ZK-NQC Boeing 737-219C c/n 22994
ZK-PLU Boeing 737-33A c/n 24094
ZK-SLA Boeing 737-377 c/n 23653
ZK-TLA Boeing 737-3B7 c/n 23383
ZK-TLB Boeing 737-3Q4 c/n 24209
ZK-TLB Boeing 737-3Q8 c/n 26310
ZK-TLC Boeing 737-3B7 c/n 23705
ZK-TLD Boeing 737-3B7 c/n 23706
ZK-TLE Boeing 737-3S1 c/n 24834
ZK-TLF Boeing 737-4Q8 c/n 24709

16 April 2021

Returning to Normal

Local travel consultants and airline operators are excited to see some sense of normality restored after the Government confirmed the transtasman bubble was opening... Chief operating officer Duane Emeny said the bubble was great news for the industry. "It's excellent news. We have been hanging out for this news. It is so crucial to our recovery." Emeny said the timing of the bubble was appropriate and a vast amount of work had gone in to ensure It operated safely. "Every single risk of possible transmission of the virus was meticulously looked at." Air Chathams has had its three biggest days of sales this week since early 2020, before Covid-19 hit the country. "We have definitely seen a lot of interest which is great." Emeny said Air Chathams would be slowly building up its services over the coming months. In May, Air Chathams are looking to add more flights on Fridays to help link with flights leaving to Australia. In August, Emeny said it planned on expanding Whanganui's flight schedule. Currently at 24 flights a week, Air Chathams will return to 36 flights by August, the number it was pre-Covid. "For us, it's so important we get that local support. We have been in Whanganui for the last five years and we aren't going anywhere. Whanganui has always been supportive and we look for that to continue." 

Source : Whanganui Chronicle, 10 April 2021

Checking the Air Chathams' website their schedule seems to be back to "normal" from 2 August with 3 weekday flights to Whanganui and Whakatane and 2 weekday flights to Paraparaumu

15 April 2021

Saabs and Double Frequency for Norfolk Island

Following the announcement of the trans-Tasman bubble, Air Chathams have announced that they are resuming flights to and from Norfolk Island from May 27th. The timetable has been adjusted to see them flying from New Zealand to Norfolk Island on Thursdays departing Auckland at 10:30am allowing easy connections from domestic flights. Flights will arrive back into Auckland at 4:45pm, again allowing for easy transit to destinations outside of Auckland. Air Chathams are also adding an additional departure in each direction from Monday August 2nd. operating on the same schedule.

Air Chathams will also be introducing a new aircraft type on this route - the Saab 340. 

Now it is ZK-JSJ

POST UPDATED 27 June 2021

British Aerospace Jetstream 3201 (c/n 969) ZK-ECJ has been reregistered as ZK-JSJ. 

Built at British Aerospace in Prestwick, Scotland as G-31-969 the aircraft made its first flight on the 21st of August 1992. It was registered N969AE and on the 2nd of October 1992 it departed Prestwick, on its delivery flight to the USA where it was operated by Wings West Airlines for American Eagle. It flew its last service with Wings West Airlines on the 4th of August 1996 and was placed in storage until April 1999.

When I was preparing this post I thought the American registration N969AE sounded familiar... lo and behold, N969AE taken at Los Angeles on 8 June 1995 while waiting for my flight home.

On the ZK-RES 29th of April 1999 N969AE became ZK-RES registered to Rex Aviation (NZ) Ltd, Wellington who operated for Ansett Regional.

BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-RES with Ansett Regional arriving at Nelson on 25 June 1990

Following the collapse of Ansett New Zealand, on the 1st of September 2000 it was registered to Tasman Pacific Regional Airlines Ltd, Wellington who operated Qantas New Zealand.

BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-RES with Tasman Pacific Connection at Wellington on 15 March 2001

When it its turn Tasman Pacific collapsed it went to Origin Pacific Airways who registered it ZK-JSR on the 25th of October 2002.

BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSR with Origin Pacific at Nelson on 4 November 2003

Origin Pacific in its turn collapse and Auckland-based air charter company Air National picked it up registering ZK-ECJ on the 18th of July 2006. As well as charter services Air National operated a number of services for Air New Zealand Link using their Jetstreams. In early March 2011 Air National wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority voluntarily asking it to revoke its air operator certificate. It was revoked immediately and ZK-ECJ was registered to Vincent Aviation on the 30th of March 2011 who operated it for Air National as well as in their own right.

BAe Jetstream ZK-ECJ while registered to Vincent Aviation at Auckland 26 September 2011

On the 20th of February 2012 ZK-ECJ was registered to Airwork Flight Operations Limited who operated it as Inflite Charters. It was registered to air2there on 27 July 2017 but it was never operated on their services and has been in storage at Paraparaumu. It was registered to Originair on the 7th of August 2020 and flew to Palmerston North three weeks ago in preparation for service with Originair as, as we know now, ZK-JSJ.   

BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-ECJ in Inflite Charter colours at Tauranga on 7 November 2016

In service with Originair as ZK-JSJ on 25 June 2021

13 April 2021

ZK - No Engines Going

Thanks to Terry who has sent in these photos of Air New Zealand's Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEG taken at Nelson yesterday, 12 April 2021. Terry writes...

Thought you might be interested in these pics of NEG sitting in rather a sad state with no engines outside the NSN maintenance hangar

Would love to know what the future holds for her, guess she will be on the way out like the rest of the Dash fleet eventually?

Seems to be the only Dash sitting in a parked/stored status

11 April 2021

Before the Road - Flying to Haast with NAC


One of NAC most important routes of the late 1940s/early 1950s was the Hokitika to Haast air service in South Westland, not because it was profitable, which it wasn't, rather because Haast was not connected to the South Island road network. In the 1930s a road was built from Jacksons Bay to Haast and this road was serviced by an infrequent shipping service between Hokitika and Jacksons Bay. The air service NAC inherited from Air Travel (NZ) was a lifeline. 

On the 1st of October 1947 the N.Z. National Airways Corporation took over Air Travel (NZ)'s air service to South Westland. On the 1st Commander Frank Molloy flew de Havilland 83 Fox Moth ZK-AGM "Matuhi" from Hokitika to Haast where private mail bags were set down. His flight then continued to Okuru's Mussel Beach aerodrome where mails for Upper Okuru (private bags), Okuru and Jackson's Bay were set down. 

The initial schedule for the NAC service saw flight 691 leave Hokitika at 8.00am and land, if required at Wataroa (Whataroa), Waiho (Franz Josef) and Weheka (Fox Glacier) arriving at Haast 9.20am for a 40 minute refuelling stop before continuing on to Okuru arriving there at 10.10am. The return northbound service, flight 692, left Okuru at 10.30am landing, if required at Haast, Weheka, Waiho and Wataroa before arriving back at Hokitika at 12.00 noon.

The Fox Moth was the mainstay of the Haast service until the 31st of May 1948 when Dragon Rapide/Dominies replaced the Fox Moth on the Hokitika-Haast route. With the introduction of the Dominie the extension of the service from Haast to Okuru was dropped. The last NAC flight to Haast and Okuru was flown by Commander Frank Molloy in De Havilland 83 Fox Moth ZK-AEK, Mohua on the 28th of May 1948. The first flight to Haast was flown in de Havilland 89A Dragon Rapide ZK-AHS "Mokai" by Commander Norm Suttie. 

de Havilland 89B Dominie ZK-AKU and de Havilland 83 Fox Moth ZK-AEK at Haast in July 1948. Photo : Whites Aviation

NAC pilot Frank Molloy refuelling de Havilland 83 Fox Moth ZK-AEK at Haast in July 1948. 
Photo : Whites Aviation

At this time the Corporation was evaluating a twin-engined four-seater Miles Gemini monoplane, which it had bought at a cost of more than £6000 for possible use on the South Westland service. The aircraft did not find favour. Instead, in July 1948 NAC’s Hokitika operation received a “new” de Havilland 83 Fox Moth, ZK-ASP (c/n 4097). ASP wasn’t exactly new, however, as it was Air Travel’s original aircraft, ZK-ADI that had been impressed into the RNZAF as NZ566. 

The Dragon Rapide/Dominie service to Haast had only been operating just over two months when on the 9th of August 1948 Hokitika's Southside airfield was closed to de Havilland Dragon Rapides and Dominies due the runway's grass surfaces and their susceptibility to flooding. The de Havilland 83 Fox Moths had to once again provide all the West Coast services south of Westport including the Haast service and enabling Okuru to return to the NAC network. Services terminated at Haast from some time in late 1949/early 1950.

NAC timetable of August 1948 with a thrice weekly scheduled service to Haast each week

The "new" Fox Moth ZK-ASP wasn't in service long when it had a mishap. The 2nd of November 1948 issue of the Otago Daily Times reported on the air accident at Haast... When a Fox Moth aircraft of the National Airways Corporation failed to rise when taking off at the Haast aerodrome about 9 o’clock on Saturday morning (30 October), it crashed into a fence at the end of the runway. The undercarriage was torn off and the propeller and wing were damaged. The pilot was Commander G. G. Barnett, and he had two passengers. No one was injured. The aircraft was taking off on a return flight to Hokitika. The longest runway at the aerodrome is 3675 feet, but after the heavy rain during the last few weeks it was very soft and the aircraft failed to take off before reaching the boundary. Considerable repairs will have to be made if the aircraft is to be flown from Haast. An inspector of the Civil Aviation branch of the Air Department and officers of the National Airways Corporation at Harewood inspected the aircraft on Sunday.

Meanwhile the importance of the Haast service continued to find new customers. As well as being a life line for Haast residents it also brought in the doctor and provided air ambulance services to the hospital at Hokitika. The 1st of July 1949 issue of the Bay of Plenty Beacon records the Anglican vicar of South Westland using the service for the first time. The Vicars of Ross, South Westland, in the past have had to use horseback, or in later days, since the Franz Josef Glacier tourist traffic has opened up the roads thus far south, the motor car, to get within reach of their scattered parishioners. Recently the present Vicar, the Rev. K. O. Bathurst, decided to use the plane service to get to his jumping-off; place. He landed from the plane at Haast aerodrome and rejoined it at Okuru, and was home for tea, after a five days’ visitation that previously ran into a week or two.

NAC's de Haviland DH83 Fox Moth at Haast in August 1949. Photos : Whites Aviation

The Haast service from the NAC timetable effective July to September 1949

The Dominie returned to Haast on the 14th of December 1950, albeit temporarily, when a National Airways Corporation Dominie flew from Dunedin's Taieri Airport to Haast to bring Ministry of Works employees out for the holiday period. After picking up its passengers it flew to landed on the new aerodrome at Hokitika. Three trips were made.

Airmail and freight was the mainstay of the Haast service. And in spring each year large amounts of whitebait were flown north from Haast. The Hokitika Guardian of the 10th of October 1951 reported on a good run and canning activities at Haast and Hokitika... A large run of whitebait in South Westland rivers necessitated an additional flight to Haast to-day by an aircraft of the National Airways Corporation. A further quantity was brought north by Mr D. Nolan in his private plane. Mainly as a result of excellent runs in the Cascade and Maori rivers in South Westland during the last few days, the canning factory owned by Messrs Nolan Bros. has been in operation for the first time this season. No canning operations have so far taken place at Hokitika

The new Hokitika airport was finally opened in December 1951. In the months following Ministry of Works employees were engaged to resurface the Haast aerodrome prior to the reintroduction of a regular Dominie. The grassed portion of the runway was graded off and remetalled. Meanwhile, on the 26th of March 1952 de Havilland Dragon Rapide ZK-AHS, which had been operated by Air Travel (NZ) between Hokitika and Nelson was flown from Auckland to Hokitika and resided in the same hangar where it was serviced and housed for a number of years at the Southside airport. 

Before and after the upgrading of the Haast aerodrome. Above, the grassed aerodrome on 25 May 1951. Photo : Whites Aviation

A much later glimpse of the Haast aerodrome after the construction of the Haast Bridge. Photo : Dawber, A R :Photographs of the West Coast Region. Ref: 1/2-116223-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23167713

The "Dominie" service resumed on the 31st of March 1952. On the following day the Hokitika Guardian of the 1st of April 1952 carried a report on the first flight. 

Under the National Airways Corporation's amended timetable, which came into operation yesterday, Dominie aircraft will now fly a thrice-weekly service to Haast, leaving Hokitika at 8 a.m. and returning at 11 a.m. Under this new timetable it will be possible for passengers leaving Haast to connect with all North and South Island services, including Auckland, Palmerston North, Blenheim, Nelson, Westport and Christchurch. Connections for the North Island leave Hokitika at 11.30 a.m. daily. This is part of a Coast-wide revision of aircraft schedules with which will be incorporated the N.A.C.'s decision to use Dominie aircraft as a feeder service to Westport, connecting there with Lodestars for Wellington. The Dominie has seating accommodation for six persons. An "as-required' service will be run to the smaller dromes of Whataroa and Franz Josef. Through the courtesy of the National Airways Corporation our reporter accompanied the aircraft on the initial flight to Haast and here gives some impressions or the trip. This was one day of the week I had no trouble getting out of bed. I had been looking forward to the trip for weeks but was a little crestfallen when I saw that the sky was overcast and visibility none too good for our journey. Our taxi picked us up - us being Mr R. Nossiter Traffic Manager of N.A.C. at Hokitika - and we arrived at the Hokitika Airport some 20 minutes before the aircraft arrived from the Southside Airfield. There were two passengers also bound for the Haast on a hiking trip so I spent the intervening time idly chatting to them while awaiting the plane. It arrived within minutes and after mail and stores had been stowed aboard and one or two formalities completed we were ready for the take-off. Our pilot for the trip was Captain F Molloy, veteran pilot of many spheres and skyways. Seated in a forward position with camera slung around neck and pad on knee, I took stock of my surroundings as we revved along the field and executed a perfect take-off. We made a half circle over the 'drome and then headed away towards the mist-shrouded south. Below Hokitika was still somnolent as we winged over the town; over the straggling ribbon-like threads of the Hokitika River as it went winding to meet the Tasman, breakers in a surge of snowy spray and spume. The sea was a dull grey in the chill morning air as we crossed the grassy tussocks and tree-clad slopes below... and so over the sea streaked here and there with patches of dirty brown, and watching the breakers incessantly pounding the log-strewn beach. And further back the dim blue, bleak outlines of the Southern Alps were just discernible as shadows through the veil of low-lying cloud and mist. Thin streams of smoke heralded our approach to Ross - almost before I had time to realise we were airborne; a few seconds over the township with its Lilliputian houses and a few curious faces cast skywards as our engines broke the still morning air. I say curious but this is only presumption on my part for the figures were but specks in the world below. The twin engines of  the plane roared in a comforting cacophony of ease and power as on southwards we winged. The land below, I thought, has known comparatively little of man's exploitation... cut up by rivers, serried by lagoons and creeks and all held in the protective cradling lap of the mountain sentinels behind. A long crescent-shaped bay, bordered by almost virgin forest unfolded before our gaze, and below, with the sun striving to break through the cloud, the waters turn from dull grey to vivid green. And long tapering trails of seaweed turn the surface into a semblance of a giant’s palette. As we passed over of sheer bluff jutting out to sea we were caught in a series of air poc kets that tossed us up and down like a feather in a breeze, but this lasted for but a few seconds and the plane resumed her even tenor. We  saw a lone sawmill below presenting a hive of activity. The forest here was cleared where the miller had taken his toll; cleared as if some mighty power had lain the timber low with a gigantic scythe. What a wonderful, fantastic patchwork landscape unfolded before us as we headed southwards. We crossed a river - I know not the name of it - that was so multifarious in its tributaries that its intricate byways formed a maze of sand and water. And bordering this, nestling amid the forest pines, a thousand and one lakes dotted the green of Mother Earth’s bosom like so many gems, reflecting the trees in their peerless depths. We hailed and farewelled the coast many times as our plane headed towards Haast; we passed over a bay with waters of an incredible green that surged up to the shore and then fell back in the never ending motion of the sea. The silent sentries that divide Westland and Canterbury caught the noise of the engines and echoed it back and forth across the lonely valleys and glens of their mountain retreat. We had completed over half our journey when we espied the Franz Josef Glacier and though visibility was still bad we managed to get a good look at its silent splendour… a waterfall frozen and crystallised in the aeons of time; a thing of beauty, coloured with hues that Titian himself could not have dreamed about, cascading down a cleft in the cliffs; a mecca of tourists the world over; an object of art created by the Supreme Artist that we mortals can only gaze and gasp in awe at its silent majesty. Truly it must be one of Westland's finest sights. The kaleidoscope of river and forest, mountain and stream moves swiftly before us. We came upon a magnificent three-mile-long beach of golden sand, unlittered with logs or flotsam, that many a capital city would be justly proud of and which terminated abruptly in a rocky promontory. But around the next point - only a stone's throw from this beach - was a bav studded with reefs and slime-covered rocks, a grim deterrent to coastal vessels that may drift too close. The pilot told me that around the next bay, known as Seal Point, we would see hundreds of seals basking in the surf. But whether they knew we were coming or not I do not know, for when we reached the spot there were only a few of the denizens of the deep disporting themselves on the shore. We were now within minutes of our destination and a thick white mist had almost completely enveloped the slopes below and we could only occasionally see a gaunt skeleton of a tree standing out like a silent wraith; the scene was one of melancholia and mournful meres. The Haast Airfield was now in sight and we circled around a hill that might have been a massive plum duff with snow like the proverbial white sauce running from its summit in straggling fingers of white. A small knot of people had gathered to meet the plane as we taxied into the refuelling point. The mail and stores were quickly unloaded and while the plane was refuelling I took the opportunity to chat to same workers in that lonely area. I remember thinking how they must look forward to receiving their mail and newspapers. Most of us are so accustomed to waking up and finding the paper on the doorstep, but I wonder how many of us realise what it means to the outback settlers who are so far removed from all the modern amenities we enjoy - and take so much for granted. It seemed to me also that this land has changed but little since the dawn of time but now with the advent of a fast convenient air service linking the "outback" with civilisation the next decade may well prove and shape the future of South Westland -- the "Cinders" of the "Cinderella" province. 

NAC's route map from the timetable effective 31 March 1952

de Havilland 89B Dominie ZK-AKU Tawaka at Haast. Photographer unknown

The arrival of the DC-3 service into Hokitika meant the Dragon Rapide/Dominies could be released to fly the South Westland services and this allowed the retirement of the Fox Moths. ZK-AEK was the first to be retired in March 1953, ZK-ASP followed in December 1953. The upgrading of the Franz Josef airfield allowed the retirement of the Fox Moths with ZK-AGM holding the honour of being the last NAC Fox Moth which was retired from regular airlines service on the 28th of February 1954. The Fox Moth had pioneered aviation in South Westland and had proved a great workhorse for connecting the Haast to the rest of New Zealand.

Farewell to the Fox Moth - de Havilland 83 Fox Moth ZK-AGM photographed at Hokitika in early 1954 as the type bowed out of the NAC fleet. Well done good and faithful servant!

For some years Queenstown-based Southern Scenic Air Services Ltd had been keen to take over NAC's South Westland service. Agreement was finally reached with Southern Scenic Air Services Ltd and the NAC South Westland air service was handed over to a subsidiary of Southern Scenic Air Services’, West Coast Airways Ltd., in November 1956. On the 16th of November NAC’s South Westland service was taken over by West Coast Airways and the inaugural flight was operated by de Havilland DH89A Dragon Rapide ZK-AHS on a Hokitika-Haast return service on the 19th of November 1956.