30 December 2023

Airwork Update

An interesting article which was just brought to my attention on air freighter operator Airwork...

Airwork Holdings Limited (hereinafter referred to as "Airwork"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rifa Seiki, recently received a notice from its customer Team Global Express (hereinafter referred to as "TGE", formerly known as Toll Holdings Limited, hereinafter referred to as "TOLL") that the relevant aircraft lease contract will not be renewed after the expiration of May 31, 2024. Airwork and TGE/TOLL have been cooperating since 30 April 2007, during which Airwork provided aircraft leasing services to TGE/TOLL on a wet-lease basis. 

At the end of last year, Airwork had 36 fixed-wing aircraft, including 22 Boeing B737 aircraft, 12 Boeing B757 aircraft (5 of which were detained in Russia), and 2 Airbus A321 aircraft; It has 24 fixed-wing aircraft (excluding 5 aircraft detained in Russia), 22 737 aircraft and 2 757 aircraft, respectively, in operation with customers in Oceania, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. However, the outbreak of geopolitical conflicts has caused uncertainties in the international economic and trade environment, and Airwork's aircraft leasing relationship with Russian customers has to be terminated. Five of Airwork's aircraft were detained in Russia, and the company and Airwork had tried unsuccessfully to retrieve them in various ways. In 2022, Airwork made a full asset impairment provision for five Boeing 757 aircraft detained in Russia, amounting to more than 700 million yuan... 

For the full article see : https://www.laitimes.com/en/article/659bg_6llmn.html, 3 November 2023

29 December 2023

2023 - The NZ airline scene in review


On the 1st of January I made some predictions of what might be this year... you can read them here...https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2023/01/crystal-ball-gazing-for-2023.html

After the disruption of Covid over the previous two years I predicted a more of less "steady as she goes" year with little change. How wrong I was with some dramatic events that herald a changing domestic airline industry in New Zealand. Here's what happened

7 February 2023

Originair expanded their Covid-schedule with flights between Nelson and Palmerston North increasing from 7 flights a week to 10 flights a week, the reintroduction of Friday and Sunday flights between Nelson and Hamilton and the reintroduction of prime time Hamilton to Palmerston North flights on Mondays and Fridays. The schedule between Nelson and Wellington increased from 2 flights a week to 6. 

26 February 2023

Air New Zealand launched a temporary air service between Napier and Gisborne after the devastating floods and severely damaged roads. The direct service operated Sunday to Friday. On the evening of the 26th Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEB operated the first southbound flight, NZ8477, and then the first the first flight northbound NZ8478 on the morning of the 27th. 

Air New Zealand's Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEB operating the first northbound service departing Napier on 27 February 2023. Photo : Matthew Gibson

3 April 2023

Texel Air began operating New Zealand services flying Auckland-Christchurch-Auckland flights  for Parcelair. Boeing 737-33A(SF) A9C-APC operated XLR 73 southbound and XLR 74 northbound.  

Texel Air's Boeing 737-300 A9C-APC at Auckland on 4 April 2023

10 April 2023

Originair withdrew from Napier. The twice weekly flights from Palmerston North to Napier allowing a connection to and from Nelson had been operating sporadically after Cyclone Gabrielle. The last flights, OGN 814 from Palmerston North to Napier and the return OGN 815 were by BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH.

Originair BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ at Napier on 6 December 2021

28 April 2023

Sunair's winter timetable announced flights once again linking Gisborne to both Tauranga and Hamilton, with two return flights each day offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Sunair's Piper Aztec ZK-DGS at Gisborne on 11 February 2020. 

30 May 2023

Texel Air's Boeing 737-800 Freighter ZK-TXE entered service on Tuesday the 30th of May 2023 flying TEXEL 2A from Auckland to Christchurch  and the return flight TEXEL 2B.  

Texel Air's Boeing 737-8B5F ZK-ZK-TXE arriving into Auckland on 29 May 2023 ready for entering service the following day

31 May 2023

Air Auckland ceased operations. Previously Air Auckland had operated regular air taxi services between Ardmore, Great Barrier Island and Whitianga.

Air Auckland's Cessna 206 arriving back to Ardmore on a scenic on 6 March 2022

9-10 June 2023

Air New Zealand ended its temporary air service between Napier and Gisborne. The service was established in the light of Cyclone Gabrielle. The final flights were operated on the 9th of June with NZ8477 from Gisborne to Napier being operated by Bombardier Q300 ZK-NFB and on 10th of June with NZ8478 from Napier to Gisborne being operated by Bombarider Q300 ZK-NEE.

26 June 2023

Sunair commenced twice-daily, weekday East Coast flights between Gisborne and Napier which stop at Wairoa if traffic is offering. The first first flights were flown by Paul Corrin and Vince Gardner in Sunair's Aztec ZK-EVP. The Aztec positioned from Tauranga to Gisborne and then operated the first Gisborne-Wairoa-Napier service followed by a direct Napier-Gisborne service..

Sunair Aztec ZK-EVP at Wairoa on 28 June 2023. Photo, Sunair Facebook page

29 June 2023

Merlin Labs operated their first air freight flight when Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster ZK-MLO flew from Kerikeri to Palmerston North before positioning to Paraparaumu. Semi-regular flights began on the 4th of July 2023 with the Cargomaster operating Kerikeri-Palmerston North-Auckland-Kerikeri flights up to four times a week on weekdays.

Merlin Labs' Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster ZK-MLO departing Kerikeri for Palmerston North on 5 September 2023

13 August 2023

Air New Zealand’s teal iconic teal colour scheme passed into history when Bombardier Q300 NZ-NEO flew to Blenheim to be repainted in the airline's black and white livery. 

Air New Zealand Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEO at Auckland 3 April 2022

7 September 2023

Air Chathams introduced their ATR 72-500s on their Norfolk Island service. 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. 

28 August 2023

Golden Bay Air's Piper Seneca ZK-ZAG operates final services with the Takaka based airline flying Takaka to Wellington as GBY121 and the return service GBY211. The aircraft was exported to Australia in November 

Golden Bay Air's Piper Pa34 Seneca ZK-ZAG at Takaka on 22 January 2014.

20 October 2023

Texel Air's Boeing 737-800 ZK-TXA entered service operating TEXEL 6101 from Auckland to Christchurch and the return service to Auckland TEXEL 6102

Texel Air's Boeing 737-800 ZK-TXA at Auckland on 21 October 2023 operating TEXEL 6101 to Christchurch

24 October 2023

Airwork's Boeing 737-400 ZK-TLF, on its second incarnation with the Airwork NZ, commenced work flying AIRWORK 3 from Auckland to Christchurch in the morning and then AIRWORK 4 in the afternoon from Christchurch to Auckland and AIRWORK on to Melbourne. It returned to Christchurch via Auckland on the morning of the 25th.

Airwork (NZ)'s Boeing 737-400 freighter arriving into Auckland after repainting in Townsville on 23 October 2023

17 November 2023

Boeing 777-367ER ZK-OKU entered service with Air New Zealand flying Auckland to Melbourne as NZ121 and the return service NZ124.

Boeing 777-300 ZK-OKU arriving back into Auckland as NZ124 on 17 November 2023

20 November 2023

Air Chathams ended their scheduled passenger Metroliner services in New Zealand with Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF flying the final scheduled passenger flights, 3C 821 from Whakatāne to Auckland and the return 3C 820 and the final 3C 827 again from Whakatāne to Auckland under the command of Alan Martin and Cameron Lindsay.

Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF arrives in Auckland with the final Metroliner scheduled passenger flight 3C 827 from Whakatāne on 20 November 2023

20 November 2023

Air Chathams commence a full Saab service between Auckland and Whakātane. The first flights were flown in Saab SF340A ZK-CIY operating 3C 824 to Whakatāne and the return service 3C 829 to Auckland under the command of Captain Duane Emeny and co-pilot Anthony Borich.

AIr Chathams' Saab 340 ZK-CIY arrives into Whakatāne with the first scheduled flight, 3C 824, on 20 November 2023. Photo M Kelly, https://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/331603-whakat--ne-flyers-delighted-with-more-room.html

25 December 2023

Christmas Greetings

Happy Christmas 
to all readers of the blog.

I hope you have a blessed day surrounded by those you love


17 December 2023

Life Flighting

I've caught a couple of Life Flight's new Beech Super King Airs from the Koru lounge in recent days...

Life Flight's Beech 200 Super King Air, ZK-LFL, was on the taxi on Runway 29 at Christchurch on 6 December 2023 prior to departure

Life Flight's Beech B200 Super King Air ZK-LFA landing on Runway 34 at Wellington on 11 December 2023

16 December 2023

Kerikeri on the 10th

It was a fairly boring day at Kerikeri's Bay of Islands airport on Sunday 10 December 2023. I just missed Salt Air's Airvan on the taxi to its hangar... It was over an hour later till the next movement, the arrival of my flight back to Auckland

The only surprise was powered glider Pipistrel Sinus ZK-GPI which was back tracking down the runway after the Q300


14 December 2023

And in more electric news...

Earlier in the year this blog carried news that Air Napier had ordered the 35 of the Maeve 01 44-seat electric powered aircraft... https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2023/06/air-napier-going-electric.html

Maeve Aerospace has now changed tack and is going hybrid and the aircraft is becoming an 80-seater. A company media release states...

Maeve Aerospace presents a sustainable 80-seater, with jet performance and turbo-prop efficiency European aircraft developer Maeve Aerospace is introducing a new, hybrid-electric 80-seater aircraft and announces its expansion to Oberpfaffenhofen Airport (Munich) to accelerate work on the program. The aircraft is designed to support the future of the regional aviation market, delivering a decarbonized, low energy solution with regional jet performance and turbo-prop economics.

Game-changing combination
The challenge in decarbonizing aviation is energy and cost-efficiency, to ensure adoption by the aviation industry. That is why Maeve is developing the M80, a hybrid-electric aircraft with 800 NM (1482 km) of range, 40% higher energy efficiency and no impact on infrastructure. Maeve has optimized the aircraft concept, to attain best-in-class specifications with regards to passenger capacity, range, lead time and energy needed for implementation.

The Maeve M80 offers the performance of a jet and the efficiency of a turboprop, a game-changing combination. The M80 is a clean sheet design with a newly integrated hybrid propulsion system resulting in significant reduction of mission energy and fuel consumption. This makes the M80 the perfect replacement of both the regional jets and turboprops.

Martin Nuesseler, CTO of Maeve Aerospace: “To my knowledge, there are currently no alternatives in development that are equally sustainable, cost effective, and match the operational needs of airlines and airports. If there are, I would applaud them, because we need more of these realistic solutions to become sustainable”.

Designing cutting edge aircraft
The unique aircraft performance is the result of an aerodynamically optimized clean sheet design and integrated new hybrid propulsion technology. The benefit of taking advantage of an altitude optimized thermal process in combination with electric hybridisation offers the significant energy reduction of the M80. To realize this, Maeve has a robust integrated product development plan in place towards Entry-In-Service in 2031, based on the experience and lessons learned from several aircraft programs, and their industrial ramp-up.

Expansion to Germany
Such a clean-sheet aircraft design requires the best team in the industry and a fast ramp-up of the organization, which is why several aviation experts have joined Maeve in this next development phase. These experts will be based at Maeve’s new location at Oberpfaffenhofen Airport near Munich. Oberpfaffenhofen is a breeding ground for innovation and home to many aviation companies.

About Maeve
Maeve Aerospace is a European innovator in the development of sustainable and economic aircraft design. The company was founded in 2021 with the vision to create sustainable aviation for millions of travelers. Being on a mission to reduce more than 50 MT of CO2 before 2040, Maeve has the strategy of launching a globally competitive aircraft family that has game-changing energy efficiency and technology that is suitable for current airport infrastructure.

The company has offices in Delft, the Netherlands and Oberpfaffenhofen Airport at Munich, Germany. The engineering team of Maeve is staffed with highly qualified and experienced aviation industry professionals and is led by its CTO, Mr. Martin Nuesseler.

Maeve is supported by private investors, the Government of the Netherlands and the European Investment Council (EIC)

One wonders if Air Napier will still be interested

13 December 2023



I missed reading this some time ago...

Hopes that Sounds Air will have electric aircraft flying from Blenheim to Wellington in a couple of years have been put on hold. When the Blenheim-based airline announced in 2021 it was working with Swedish company Heart Aerospace to have three 19-seat, ES-19 aircraft on the route, the intention was the service would begin in 2026. Sounds Air chair Rhyan Wardman said the date had now been pushed out to some time between 2028 and 2030. “Obviously these aircraft are still being developed, and Heart Aerospace are still developing their prototypes and designs,” Wardman said. Wardman said the design had increased also from 19-seat aircraft to 32-seaters. “That’s the design, it’s evolved into a 32-seater they want to go with, and we’re comfortable with that.” The cost of the acquiring the three aircraft was not being revealed, he said. Sounds Air currently had four 12-seat Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft and six Pilatus PC aircraft (nine-seaters) operating on multiple routes, with the busiest being 44 flights a week between Blenheim and Wellington. Air New Zealand was still intending to provide lower-emission aircraft from 2026, initially for cargo-only services, with an announcement on which type expected by early next year. 

The full article can be found here... https://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/300941035/sounds-air-electric-aircraft-plans-pushed-back, 17 August 2023

12 December 2023

Roomy and Comfy

Saturday saw me on a work trip to Kaitaia on Barrier Air flight 713. Thanks to pilot Sam and the Barrier Air team for another great trip, and thanks to for the front seat

Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravans, ZK-SDD, ZK-SDG and ZK-SDC at Auckland on 9 December 2023

I only had my small lens on so a desperation shot of Warbirds Douglas DC-3 ZK-DAK

Another desperation shot... Texel Air's Boeing 737-800 ZK-TXE 

Mixing with the big boys... Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 ZK-NZD departed ahead of us

Holding for Emirates' Airbus 380 A6-EVR

...while Air New Zealand's Airbus 320 ZK-OXL held for us

Lining up on Runway 23

The international tarmac

What's the construction about under the weather radar?

Reflections in the Manukau Harbour

Rosebank and the Upper Waitemata Harbour

RNZAF Whenuapai

Whangaparaoa Peninsula, with Tiritiri Matangi Island just off shore and then the north of the Coromandel Peninsula in the distance

Kawau Island in the foreground, Great Barrier Island in the distance

The headwaters of the Kaipara Harbour... Hargreaves Basin Gittos Point, centre top, Kaira Creek going left and Oruawharo River going to the right

The headwaters of the Kaipara Harbour... Ngamotu Point and Island in the centre looking across the Whakaki River

The headwaters of the Kaipara Harbour... Moturoa Island and Motuouhi Island below and then down the sandy beach to Motukumara point and Frenchmans Bay to the right

The headwaters of the Kaipara Harbour... A pensive moment for pilot Sam as we passed Kaipara Head looking out to the Tasman Sea

Tinopai and Komiti Bay

The headwaters of the Kaipara Harbour... looking up the Otamatea River

The headwaters of the Kaipara Harbour... the community of Pahi on the left and Whakapirau on the right of the Pahi River. Karakanui (left) and Kapua Points (right) in the bottom right of the photo in the Arapaoa River

The headwaters of the Kaipara Harbour... the community of Pahi on the left and Whakapirau of the right Pahi River.

The winding Wairoa River east of Dargaville

The Hokianga Harbour entrance

The headwaters of the Hokianga Harbour... the community of Horeke and the Waihou River.

The headwaters of the Hokianga Harbour... the community of Orira on the Orira River. Totara Point would be coming up on the left hand side of the plane

On descent into Kaitaia on a hazy day... looking towards Doubtless Bay

On descent into Kaitaia on a hazy day... Looking towards Rangaunu Harbour and north to Cape Reinga

On descent into Kaitaia on a hazy day... unfortunately we didn't do a flyover

Finals Runway 30 at Kaitaia

Finals Runway 30 at Kaitaia

Arrived safely...

The conversations on board are always interesting... "Wow, I like these new seats, so much more roomy and comfy"

The conversations on board are always interesting... "I really enjoyed that... I'm sorry I'm going back by bus... it's going to take eight hours!" Barrier Air's Cessna 208 Grand Caravan at Kaitaia on 9 December 2023