12 May 2024

Bayair - Regular Flights to Golden Bay

Bay Air Charter which traded as Bayair was the fixed wing division of North West Capturing Developments Ltd of Takaka which later became North West Helicopters Ltd. This company was established in 1978 by Takaka businessman Kerry Page and operated Hiller UH12E ZK-HDY and ZK-HGN, Hughes 369HS '500C' ZK-HTH and Hughes 369D '500D' ZK-HVE.

In August 1985 the Nelson Evening Mail reported that Confidence in the future development of Golden Bay's resources and tourist industry has prompted a Takaka businessman to set up a new air charter service with a local base. Mr Kerry Page has employed a full-time pilot to operate the new fixed-wing service, which will complement his existing helicopter business. An office will be set up in Takaka's commercial centre, and Mr Page hopes to create a further full-time job in administration, dealing with bookings and customer enquiries. A Cessna 206 aircraft based at the Takaka Aerodrome will be available to carry 5 passengers and half tonne of freight on non-scheduled charter flights, operating to any destination at the convenience of the customer, Mr Page has been a driving force behind regional development assistance for Golden Bay, and he believes promotion of local resources will enable the area to stimulate its own growth. The new venture however has not been assisted by regional development finance. Regular scheduled flights and charter services have been available in Golden Bay before, but Mr Page said there is a need for a home-based service working for the convenience of local people. He believes both business and tourist needs can be best served from within the area. He sees the air service as a complement to existing transport services and hopes to work with other local operators in promoting the area. Pilot Peter Jones has moved to Takaka from Nelson to operate the single-engined Cessna, which will be chartered at an hourly rate, and he is enthusiastic about the potential work available for it. Servicing the Heaphy Track will be the "bread and butter" of his new job, but he expects to be in demand from local people attending business meetings in the capital, getting fresh produce to markets and taking part in conferences and sports fixtures around the country. Scenic flights will also be offered this summer in response to frequent enquiries from campers and holiday makers. A planned route will be from Takaka to Farewell Spit, over Collingwood and Bainham, across Boulder Lake and the Cobb Valley to Separation Point and back over the sea to the aerodrome, a flight lasting about 50 minutes. Other flights will be available according to demand. 

Cessna 206 Super Skywagon ZK-DVI (c/n 206-0163) had been registered to Kepa Holdings Ltd of Takaka on the 14th of May 1985 and this was leased to Bayair clearing the way for the operator to get airborne.

Bayair's Cessna 206 Super Skywagon ZK-DVI at Palmerston North on 18 January 1986

Scenic flights included the "Karamea Lunch Flight" coastal scenic flights over Abel Tasman National Park or Farewell Spit and the mountain flight to the surrounding rugged mountainous area.

The Press, 9 September 1986

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six ZK-ERL (c/n 32-7540184) was used from mid-1987 and this aircraft was used to operate a regular on demand service from Takaka to Wellington on Fridays and Sundays if sufficient traffic was available.`

Bayair's Piper Cherokee 6 ZK-ERL at Takaka in 1988. Photo : R M Gavin, F B Gavin Collection

The Press, 2 February 1988

The Press, 23 February 1988

In late 1988 the parent company North West Helicopters was placed in receivership and the Piper Cherokee 6 ZK-ERL was sold as past of the company assets.

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