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

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