16 December 2021

Good Morning Whitianga

Barrier Air launched its long awaited Auckland to Whitianga service this morning. Doing the honours under the command of Daryl Williamson was Barrier Air's newest Cessna 208 Grand Caravan ZK-SDE. On board GB401, the inaugural flight, were 8 passengers.

As part of the preparation for the service Barrier Air worked with CAA for the recommissioning of the RNAV approach at Whitianga enabling an all-weather operation... and this was needed for the first flight though the weather was trying hard to cooperate. Grant Bacon, Barrier Air's CEO, said the airline will operate most of its flights IFR as it does to Great Barrier Island and Kaitaia as part of the airline's safety standards.

There was a nice crowd gathered to see the arrival of the first flight including the local fire brigade who gave a water arch salute to welcome the first scheduled IFR service. 

Grant told me the local response has been really amazing. There has been a lot of interest in the community and Coromandel FM was livestreaming the arrival. Grant is pragmatic that the service has to be price sensitive or people will get in their cars and drive... though on the return flight I noted the queued traffic on the motorways. It's not surprising there already quite a number of full flights for the summer. Even at my work office one staff member was talking about their beach house at Coromandel and how their daughters will be able to fly over to Coromandel to join their parents without the drive in and out of Auckland. 

The new IFR air service opens a new chapter in the history of air services to Whitianga and it will be certainly interesting to see how it develops. I for one want to fly it again on a fine day and see some of the spectacular scenery the route has to offer. 

GB 401 to Whitianga on the departure board 


Daryl Williamson, Barrier Air’s Flight Standards/Training Manager 

Nice to see s fuller tarmac at Auckland International

Puketutu Island

Auckland CBD in the distance as we climbed to our cruising altitude of 7000 feet

Not a lot to see

And all of a sudden there is Coromandel below us

And there's Whitianga as we go out on the RNAV approach

Clearing from the north inbound on the RNAV

Ohinau and Ohinauiti Islands

Cooks Beach

Coming up on the beach at Whitianga on finals for Runway 22
Welcome to Whitianga

Happy punters and even the sun came out

ZK-SDE at Whitianga after the arrival of the first flight

1 comment:

  1. What a great experience and to be part of its history too!