29 September 2023

New Texel Air 737


Arriving into Auckland just before 1.00am this morning was Texel Air's latest Boeing 737-800, N739CE. By pure chance I looked out the window of the Regional Lounge at Auckland airport and there it was on the taxi on its way to Hamilton for entry on the New Zealand register...

The second Boeing 737-800 for Texel Air's Australasian operations, N739CE departing Auckland for Hamilton on 29 September 2023

25 September 2023

Kaitaia - Index of Posts

Kaitaia is New Zealand's northern most airport. Over the years has been served by some interesting aircraft and airlines.  
I am currently working on a post on the NAC service to Kaitaia and I am searching for some photos of NAC aircraft at Kaitaia. Would you happen to have any you can share with me???
I would also be most grateful for any information, photos, stories you might have about the other air services through Kaitaia and, after they are posted, corrections and omissions to me at westland831@gmail.com  - Thanks, Steve

1947-1978 - Post to be Written


1978-1988 - No post written


21 September 2023

Kodiak Enroute

Thanks to James Stoke for sharing some exciting news for Glenorchy Air... their new Daher Kodiak 100, N282KQ, which will soon be on the New Zealand civil register as ZK-KDK, has departed Santa Maria California and now landed at Hilo, Hawaii. Over the next few days it will fly to Auckland via Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, Kiribati and Apia, Samoa. It is due into Auckland on Sunday and then being repositioned to Ardmore for detanking and cleaning before making its way to Wanaka for CAA inspection after that. 

18 September 2023

An interesting interview


The link below will take you to an interesting interview with Merlin Lab's local CEO Shaun Johnson.

My airline profile next month will be on Merlin Lab's air freight service.


News Snippet Catch-Up


Air Chathams introduced their ATR 72-500s to the Norfolk Island service on 7 September 2023. Flying the first ATR flights, 3C 401 to Norfolk Island and the return flight 3C 402 was ATR-72 ZK-MCU.  The airline operates a weekly Thursday service over the winter months and twice weekly summer service on Mondays and Thursdays. 

Meanwhile the ATRs have been seen on flights to Air Chathams' three North Island destinations outside Auckland as the Saabs are on maintenance and charter duties.

17 September 2023

Profile Updated - NAC @ HKK

I like to update my profiles on New Zealand's current domestic airlines and the histories of the past airlines come to hand. 

Some additional issues of the Greymouth Evening Star and Christchurch Press have recently been added to Papers Past and I have updated my profile on the early years NAC's air service to Hokitika. 

It can be found here : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2012/07/hokitikas-nac-de-havilland-days.html 

10 September 2023

Dunedin's Skyways Flite Services

On the 17th of August 1981 Andy Padgett's Rexair Flying School air transport licence was taken over by Otago pilots John Gray and Graeme Tikey trading as Skyways Flite Services Ltd. The Rexair licence authorised air charter and air taxi services from Dunedin airport to any licensed aerodrome or authorised landing place in New Zealand with two Cessna 172s and a Cessna 206 or Cessna 207. Coming into the fleet was Rexair's three Cessna 172s, ZK-DXL which was sold the following month, ZK-EHO and ZK-ELT and Cessna 206 ZK-DXH. A further Cessna 172 and the Cessna 206 were soon leased out. 

On the 31st of August 1981 two new Piper Tomahawks, ZK-EQV and ZK-EQX, were registered to Skyways. the new operator discovered, as reported in NZ Wings, that while the Civil Aviation Division mapped out a clear course through the paper requirements for applying for a new license, very little advice was available on transferring an air service certificate. The ins and outs of the matter took two and a half months of non-revenue earning activity to resolve the issue. The licence was finally transferred to Skyways Flite Services on the 10th of November 1981. 

Meanwhile, in October 1981 NZ Wings had reported that while Skyways successfully acquired Rexair's air transport licence, it failed to get the rights for the scheduled service to Gore and Invercargill. The new company will provide air charter, freight, joy rides, aerial photography and is also looking forward to the possibility of establishing regional air services

Skyways Flite Services' Piper PA38 Tomahawks, ZK-EQV and ZK-EQX at Dunedin on 8 November 1981. Photos : I Coates

A licence change was granted to Skyways on the 7th of December 1981 allowing the company to add a Partenavia P68B to its fleet. This enabled Partenavia ZK-LAL to be leased from RCS International Ltd and also allowed the company to offer IFR charter services. Unfortunately RCS International went into receivership and while in receivership the Partenavia's certificate of airworthiness expired. The receiver was not prepared to incur the expenditure of obtaining a new certificate and so Skyways returned to the Air Services Licensing Authority seeking to delete the Partenavia from its licence and replace it with a Cessna 402 which company had already operated under a temporary licence. Approval was granted to do this on the 5th of April 1982 and on the 24th of May 1982 Cessna 402 ZK-DSB was registered to Skyways. 

Skyways' Cessna 402 ZK-DSB at Christchurch on 23 June 1982

An article in NZ Wings in April 1982 reported that, With Dunedin being the head office for a number of NZ companies, Skyways sees a requirement for both crewing and maintaining corporate aircraft based on Dunedin. Air New Zealand's frequency places a time penalty on businessmen flying north and, as Skyways sees it, there is an untapped market in providing an early morning flight to Wellington in time to connect with an Air NZ flight to Auckland. Two provincial centres to the north, Oamaru and Timaru, are blind spots on Air NZ's route system. In short, the Otago and South Canterbury hinterlands are a largely untapped market in a number of general aviation sectors. An important part of Skyway's future is invested in a Cessna 402B ZK-DSB. Until recently operated by Stewart Island Air Services, the light twin is to be used for executive air transport and a freight operation. 

The same article also discussed the flight training side of Skyway's business. "More than happy" was the response of Graeme Tikey to a query about the performance of the two Piper Tomahawks out front... The Tomahawks, equipped with both VOR and ADF, were delivered new last August by Airwork (NZ) Ltd's aircraft sales manager Colin White and now have over 700 hours logged apiece - not bad for the first six months. The advent of Skyways Flite Services in Otago skies appears to have had a definite spin off for local pilot's pockets. An initial rate of $45.00 per solo hour in the Tomahawks was shortly matched by a decrease in local aero club rates. A competitive advertising campaign has also raised local awareness of the role of general aviation and the opportunity to share in it. Flying training has probably never been better for both.

Despite its high ambitions the company Skyways didn't soar and on the 22nd of September 1982 the company was placed into receivership. In October 1982 tenders were invited for the purchase of the assets of Skyways Flite Services Limited. The company has operated from Dunedin Airport, Momona, as an air charter firm, flight training school etc. Assets to be tendered include, two Cessna "Skyhawk." one Cessna "Stationair" and one Piper "Tomahawk" aircraft, office building at airport, goodwill, sundry equipment and office furniture etc.

After Skyways' collapse Motor Holdings established a flying school at Dunedin's Momona airport using Cessna 152s and Cessna 172s under the direction of Dave McMillan, who was Motor Holdings Aviation Ltd's South Island Area Manager.

Aircraft used included

Cessna 172M Skyhawk II
ZK-DXL (c/n 17263546)

Cessna 172N Skyhawk II
ZK-EHO (c/n 17269668)
ZK-ELT (c/n 17271068)

Cessna U206F Stationair
ZK-DXH (c/n U20602996)

Cessna 402B Utiliner
ZK-DSB (c/n 402B0585)

Partenavia P68B 
ZK-LAL (c/n 70)

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk
ZK-EQV (c/n 38-80A0029)
ZK-EQX (c/n 38-80A0009)

09 September 2023

Early morning departures - Barrier Air movements

 I had a couple of early morning regional departures from Auckland this week and so was able to catch some of the early movements through Auckland from the regional Koru lounge... 

Barrier Air's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SDC arriving into Auckland from Kaitaia on 5 September 2023

Barrier Air's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SDG departing Auckland for Great Barrier Island on 5 September 2023

Barrier Air's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SDE arriving into Auckland from Kaitaia on 6 September 2023

08 September 2023

Early Morning Departures - Air Chathams' Arrivals

I had a couple of early morning regional departures from Auckland this week and so was able to catch some of the early movements through Auckland from the regional Koru lounge... 

Air Chathams' ATR 72-500 ZK-MCU was arriving into Auckland from Whanganui on 6 September 2023

Air Chathams' Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF was arriving into Auckland from Whakatane on 6 September 2023


07 September 2023

Hydrogen powered Island Aviation

We are really happy to share the mock-up of one of our Britten Norman Islander aircraft converted to Hydrogen power. While we haven't finished our business case for the conversion yet, our CEO Chris has spend the last 2 weeks in the US and Europe validating low/zero emission forms of transport. We are grateful for the teams from Britten Norman and Cranfield Aerospace for spending time to work through the specifications and design of the Islander Aircraft. It's also great to see a mock-up of the same aircraft in Air New Zealand colours. If we go ahead with the conversion, we may only be the second operator in New Zealand, following the lead of our national carrier, which has reportedly signed a Letter Of Intent for a significant number of conversion kits for Islander aircraft. If the remainder of the development program stays on time, then we should be able to see those aircraft on the routes to Great Barrier Island and Waiheke from 2026/2027. In the meantime, we have upgraded the avionics equipment in our aircraft to e.g. make the conversion process to zero-emission fuels easier. We are really grateful for the support of our customers, who enable us to continue to work on bringing low/zero carbon aviation to the Hauraki Gulf.

Source : Island Aviation Facebook page

05 September 2023

Kerikeri today

The aviation highlight of my day trip to the Mid-North today, flying in and out of Kerikeri, was getting Merlin Labs' Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster ZK-MLO.

Some quick shots of Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster ZK-MLO when I arrived at Kerikeri on 5 September 2023.

Back at the airport for my flight back to Auckland and ZK-MLO was being towed across the airport for refuelling and loading its freight

On the way to Palmerston North, ZK-MLO generally operates Kerikeri-Palmerston North-Auckland-Kerikeri flights Monday to Thursday.

Backtracking for departure... Unfortunately I couldn't get it airborne as my flight was called

My ride back to Auckland, Air New Zealand's Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEG arriving into Kerikeri on 5 September 2023