30 December 2021

2021 - The NZ domestic airline scene in review

On the 1st of January I made some predictions of what might be this year... you can read them here...

This is what actually happened this year

20 January 2021

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SLA entered service with Barrier Air offering an expanded schedule on North Shore to Great Barrier Island route. Barrier Air offered up to two flights a day between the two ports until Easter 2021. ZK-SLA's introduction to the Barrier Air fleet was under the command of Josh Grace who operated the first flights, GB 203 from North Shore to Great Barrier Island and the return flight GB 204.

Cessna 208B with Barrier Air titles at Claris airport on Great Barrier Island on 20 January 2021

14 February 2021

Originair commenced a once weekly direct service between Nelson and Hamilton BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSK operated flight OGN 235 from Nelson to Hamilton. The weekly direct service from Hamilton to Nelson operates on Fridays. Kiwi Regional was the last airline to operate direct flights between Hamilton and Nelson.

Originair's BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSK at Hamilton on 23 February 2021

22 February 2021

Cessna TU206G Turbo Stationair II ZK-KMH (c/n U20604075). ZK-KMH flew to the Chathams from Auckland, via Napier, on Monday the 22nd of February to replace ZK-KAI was damaged in a non-flying incident.

Cessna 206 ZK-KMH at Tuuta Airport preparing for a flight to Pitt Island on 9 July 2021

12 March 2021

Sounds Air added and additional Friday flight between Blenheim and Christchurch. The airline operates thrice daily between the two centres with the exception of Saturdays with one return flight and now Friday with four return flights.

13 March 2021

Saab 340A ZK-CIY operated the first Saab scheduled passenger service to the Chatham Islands flying flight 3C 591 from Auckland to the Chathams and the return flight to Auckland 3C 519.

Being towed back to the hangar Air Chathams' Saab 340 ZK-CIY after arriving back into Auckland from Chatham Islands.

29 March 2021

While not operating as a regional airline, former regional airline Mountain Air ceased operations, a victim of the collapse of tourism brought about the Covid pandemic.

Britten Norman Islander ZK-PIZ, Tongariro, taken at the Chateau on 22 November 1996.

March 2021

Air Kaikoura's twice weekly air service between Kaikoura and Wellington has dropped to an "on demand only" service. It now no longer appears on the Air Kaikoura website.

Air Kaikoura's Gippsland GA8 Airvan ZK-ORC departs Wellington for Kaikoura on 27 May 2021 after operating a freight flight to Wellington.

8 June 2021

Sounds Air added extra flights on Monday and Thursdays on the Taupo-Wellington route taking the Taupo route to there are two flights to Wellington on Tuesdays and Fridays, three flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and one flight on Saturdays which returns on Sundays evenings.

On the same date Sounds Air has added extra flights on the Westport-Wellington route on Mondays and Fridays taking the the Westport route to are two flights to Wellington on Tuesdays and Thursdays, three flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and one flight on Saturdays and Sundays with a second return flight on Sundays evenings.

10 June 2021

Air Chathams have resumed their Norfolk Island service operated by ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO. The ATR flight was piloted by Matt Emeny and Paul Cattermole alongside Nikki and Alana looking after the cabin.

14 June 2021

Originair's BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ entered service operating ORIGIN 335 from Palmerston North to Nelson and the return service ORIGIN 332.

Originair's latest BAe Jetstream ZK-JSJ at Hamilton on 25 June 2021 

17 June 2021

Air Chathams introduced Saab 340s to the Norfolk Island service with ZK-CIZ operating the Auckland to Norfolk Island flight, 3C 401 and return 3C 402.

29 June 2021

Commercial Helicopters Ltd, the company that operated Fly My Sky, went into liquidation. Fly My Sky's final services were operated by BN Islander ZK-SFK (ISLAND 2 KILO) from Auckland to Claris (FS15) and return (FS9015) on the same afternoon.

Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-PIZ about depart on a service to Great Barrier Island on 13 March 2021

1 July 2021

Sounds Air added an additional Thursday flight on the Blenheim-Christchurch route taking the Blenheim-Christchurch route to three flights on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, four on Thursdays and Fridays, one on Saturdays and two on Sundays.

23 July 2021

Air Chathams' ended scheduled passenger operations with Convair 580 aircraft. Convair 580 ZK-CIB, Air Chathams' first Convair, flew its final scheduled passenger service, 3C 512, from the Chathams Islands to Wellington and the return 3C 521 to the Chatham Islands.

ZK-CIB on her final day of scheduled passenger operations at Wellington on 23 July 2021. Photo : Wellington International Airport

3 August 2021

Bring Our Birds Home announced on their Facebook page they had acquired Eagle Air's first Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante, ZK-ERU. It was subsequently moved to the National Transport & Toy Museum at Wanaka for public display.

15 August 2021

Air Chathams Convair 580 ZK-CIB operated a final passenger charter to the Chatham Islands flying from Auckland to Wellington as CHATHAMS 580 and then out to the Chathams as CHATHAMS 581 on Friday 13 August 2021. The return flights operated on Sunday 15 August 2021, CHATHAMS 580 to Wellington and CHATHAMS 581 to Auckland. Thus ended Air Chathams' Convair passenger operations.

Air Chathams' Convair 580 ZK-CIB at Tuuta Airport, Chatham Islands on 13 August 2021

17 August 2021

All of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4 Lockdown at 11:59pm meaning the suspension of most domestic airline operations. On the 31st of August all of New Zealand south of Auckland moves to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm. This lockdown, and an earlier lockdown impacting on Auckland, disrupted the airline scene. Air Chathams and Barrier Air's normal scheduled services from Auckland did not resume until the 15th of December.

13 September 2021

Air New Zealand introduced a daily service between Kerikeri and Wellington to help connect Northland to the rest of the country while Auckland remained in Level 4 lockdown. The service was later increased to twice daily.

17 September 2021

Air Chathams' Convair 580 ZK-CIB operated its final freight service on the 17th of September 2021 operating as CHATHAMS 580 from Auckland to Invercargill to pick up a cargo of live crayfish. The return flight also operated as CHATHAMS 580. The final flights were operated under the command of Captain Anthony Borich and First Officers Daryl Pettit and Ruthy Nisbet. Thus ended Air Chathams' Convair operations.

Convair 580 ZK-CIB departs Christchurch for the last time on 12 September 2021

29 September 2021

After the success of the Wellington-Kerikeri service Air New Zealand introduced a daily service between Whangarei and Wellington while Auckland remained in lockdown.

22 October 2021

Originair commenced a twice weekly Nelson to Napier service with British Aerospace Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ flying from Nelson as OGN 621 and on the return flight OGN 654.

Originair BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ arrives at Napier on 22 October 2021.
Photo : Hawke's Bay Airport Facebook page

23 October 2021

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SDE entered service with Barrier Air flying two return freight flights from Auckland to Great Barrier Island, BARRIER 101 and return 102 this morning and 109 and return 110 this afternoon.

Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDE after her arrival at Auckland on 21 October 2021

26 October 2021

Originair commenced twice weekly Palmerston North-Napier flights operating on Fridays and Sundays. British Aerospace Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ flew the inaugural flight ORIGIN 861 and the return ORIGIN 868.

6 December 2021

Originair commenced thrice weekly Napier-Hamilton flights operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. British Aerospace Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ flew the inaugural flight ORIGIN 721 under the command of Captain Murray Vincent and First Officer Jan Meyer and also the return flight ORIGIN 726.

OG 721 boarding at Napier on 6 December 2021

15 December 2021

Air Auckland commenced a daily service between Whitianga and Great Barrier Island. The first flight was flown by in Cessna 172 ZK-EJU

Air Auckland's Cessna 172 ZK-EJU at Ardmore on 15 December 2019. 

16 December 2021

Sunair commenced a twice daily service between Great Barrier Island and Ardmore. 12 flights are being operated each week. The first flight was flown in Piper Aztec ZK-FVP

Piper Aztec ZK-FVP at Great Barrier Island earlier in the year on 20 January 2021 

16 December 2021

Barrier Air commenced a daily service between Auckland and Whitianga. 12 flights are being operated each week. The first flight was flown by Daryl Williamson in Cessna 208 Grand Caravan ZK-SDE

Barrier Air's Cessna 208 Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDE at Whitianga after flying the inaugural flight from Auckland on 16 December 2021 

23 December 2021

Air New Zealand's newest ATR 72-600 ZK-MZF entered service operating as it first flight NZ5346 from Christchurch to Wellington and its return, NZ5349. ZK-MZF was the last ATR 72-600 Air New Zealand had on order. The first, ZK-MVA, arrived in New Zealand in November 2012. The airline has a fleet of 29 ATR 72-600s.

The last and latest ATR 72-600 ZK-MZF arriving into Christchurch on 26 December 2021 as NZ5773 from Napier.


  1. Thank you for all your effort in keeping us updated throughout the year. I love reading your updates and in depth history of our smaller airlines. I hope you have a great new years and a bit of a break

  2. A really great effort you put into it Steve with all your updates through the years. You must be the most dedicated aviation researcher in all of NZ.