13 March 2022

Cranes and Planes - Jensen Air


In July 1977, Neil Jensen of Tauranga purchased Cessna 172 ZK-DJU in support of Neil Jensen Crane Services Ltd, his crane hire business and other business interests around the country. In February 1979 this was supplemented by the purchase of Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance ZK-NJS with the Cessna 172 being sold in March 1982. 

Neil Jensen's Piper Pa32 Cherokee Lance ZK-NJS at Timaru in November 1988

Further development followed in May 1985 when Cessna 402B Businessliner ZK-EHS (c/n 402B0217) was purchased. In September 1985 Neil Jensen and Bill Taylor, a local solicitor, trading as Bay Executive Air Travel, applied to the Air Services Licensing Authority to conduct an air transport service from Tauranga Airport to any licensed aerodrome in New Zealand and aerial work licence over the whole of New Zealand. In particular the company sought to do aerial photography and survey work with a fleet of one Cessna 402 aircraft. 

At this time Bill Taylor was in the process of sitting the examinations for his private pilot’s licence and had accumulated sufficient flying hours to gain his licence. He was the owner of a Cessna 172, ZK-EYC, which he used extensively for connecting with his business interests in Auckland. The two partners leased land from the Tauranga Airport Management Committee upon which a hangar is established to house their private aircraft. 

A licence was subsequently granted and after the extensive refurbishment of Cessna 402B ZK-EHS Jensen Air began charter operations using the Cessna 402 along with Piper PA32R Lance ZK-NJS and Cessna 172N ZK-EYC. In their application for their licence the company stated that Timothy Jeffares, a commercial pilot who has several hundred hours experience flying Cessna 402s, would be responsible for day to day flying, management and control of the operation. Later Rick Rimmer and Arthur Jordan the bulk of the flying.

Athenree Park Ltd's (of which Bill Taylor was an owner) Cessna 172 ZK-EYC which was used by Jensen Air at Tauranga on 19 May 1988

Jensen Air did operate a short lived air service from Tauranga to Auckland. According to the June 1987 issue of NZ Wings, Tauranga-based Jensen Air, operating a Cessna 402, are now providing the only scheduled service, twice daily, between Auckland and Tauranga. The service operated twice daily, Monday to Friday with flights departing Tauranga at 7.45am and 4.00pm and the return service departing Auckland at 8.45am and 5.30pm.

Jensen Air's Cessna 402B ZK-EHS at Tauranga on 1 September 1987

That Jensen Air was providing the only scheduled service, twice daily, between Auckland and Tauranga, was no doubt news to Air New Zealand! It was also news to the Air Services Licensing Authority. On the 29th of June, R H George, the secretary of the Air Services Licensing Authority wrote to Neil Jensen saying, The Authority notes from an article in the June issue of "Wings" magazine that your company has commenced a twice daily scheduled service between Auckland and Tauranga. The Authority has no record of being notified of the change, as required by Section 22(1) of the Air Services Licensing Act 1983. Your comments on the above would be appreciated. A month later the Authority had still not had a reply and one presumes the service did not last long as in early 1988 the Cessna 402 was leased to Pacifica Air in early 1988.

On the 15th of August 1988 the air service certificate was surrendered and in April 1989 advertisements appeared in the major daily newspapers stating that Air Service Licensing Authority intended to cancel Air Transport Licence No 2441 and Aerial Work Licence No 2442, in the names of Neil Jensen and William Ferguson Taylor (trading as Bay Executive Air Travel) on the grounds that the holders have abandoned the services authorised by their air service licence. The Piper Lance was sold in October 1989. 

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