30 April 2010
flyDirect have changed their timetable again - I think this might be the third version since they started advertising on the 29th of March. Wellington is now the big winner receiving two flights a day to Wanaka instead of one, as advertised as recently as last week, while Christchurch loses one flight a day and will only have a morning flight to and from Wanaka. This seems to make more sense. The package deals, which include a rental car, must be much more attractive to North Islanders than South Islanders for whom driving to Wanaka one's own car is still an option.
flyDirect's latest schedule, as it appears today, is as follows
Flight Schedule - July 1 - October 5 2010
Flight Departs Arrives Frequency
Wellington – Wanaka
FD201 0645 0815 Daily
FD203 1500 1630 Daily
Wanaka – Wellington
FD204 1200 1330 Daily
FD202 1715 1840 Daily
Christchurch – Wanaka
FD101 1000 1045 Daily
Wanaka – Christchurch
FD102 0845 0930 Daily
28 April 2010
Beech Baron ZK-ECA at Wanganui on 21 February 1985
PS - I know "Beech 1900D" should read "Raytheon 1900D" but who calls them Raytheons?????
27 April 2010
A desparation shot of VIP at Paraparaumu on 4 February 2010
26 April 2010
In answer to a question about Stewart Island Flights' courier run between Invercargill and Dunedin Jordan Kean sent me this little snippet...
"There was a post run from NV-DN-NV which started in 1995 and Cherokee 6 DBC was used, which was owned by Alan Johnson. This did about 2 years service before it crashed on the beach at Spit Island, Preservation Inlet. RTS was then brought in from Australia, and was operated right up until the service stopped at the end of 2009, when the post vans started doing it, for a lot less cost."
I don't get to the deep south very often these days and haven't got a picture of RTS but there is a great photo on it on a beach at Mason's Bay on Stewart Island on Airliners.net...
If anyone would happen to know the actual date of the last courier run that would be much appreciated. Sadly courier flights by third level airlines are becoming a thing of the past.
25 April 2010
New Zealand’s southern most airline, Stewart Island Flights, is in its fourth incarnation. It began as Stewart Island Air Services before being rebranded as Southern Air Ltd and subsequently Southern Air (1997) Ltd. This first instalment is about Stewart Island Air Services...
Stewart Island’s first air service was operated by Grumman Widgeon amphibians operated by an Invercargill company, Amphibian Airways. The service was later sold to NZ Tourist Air Travel which was later brought out by Mount Cook Airlines.
In 1976 Mount Cook Airlines sold their amphibian operations at Invercargill and from Mechanics Bay in Auckland. The Invercargill operation was taken over by Stewart Island Air Services who applied the Air Services Licencing Authority in June 1976 to operate non-scheduled and charter services between Invercargill and Stewart Island, and charter and taxi services from Stewart Island with one Britten Norman Islander.
After being granted the necessary licence the company looked to the construction of the Ryans Creek air strip. The Mount Cook Airlines amphibian service ended on 3 September 1976 and this passed on to Stewart Island Air Services. The company leased a Widgeon (though ultimately two Widgeons were to be used, ZK-AVM and ZK-BGQ), from Auckland’s Sea Bee Air to ensure the continuation of the service until he Islander service could be started. In a letter sent to Stewart Islanders on the 8th of September 1976 the company said provided no further delays are encountered with approvals for the establishment of the air strip, construction should be near completion within four months. In the meantime Captain Murray Donald was appointed to fly the Widgeons daily except for Wednesday and Thursday. The ferry, the MV Wairua, ran on a Wednesday so this meant that Thursday was the only day when the Island was without some form of transport to and from the Mainland. Flights were scheduled to leave Stewart Island at 9.30 in the morning and 4.30 in the afternoon. The company received a Government grant of $10,000 to cover losses which is would incur on the amphibian operation and to ensure the continuity.
|Above, Grumman Widgeon ZK-AVM at Invercargill on 7 September 1976.|
|The second Widgeon used by Stewart Island Air Services was ZK-BGQ, again at Invercargill on 30 November 1976.|
Martin Mueller reported on the frustration the company had with the construction of the Ryans Creek air strip in NZ Wings in 1978, “Work had to be stopped due to weather, and the whole job - which was estimated to take about three months - eventually took thirteen. The trouble centred around doing major earthworks during a wet winter. Finally work was completed, with only sealing to be done. This has been put off in the meantime. Gravel has been laid which was sufficient for a Civil Aviation Licence, issued on January 19.”
|Touchdown at last - the long awaited arrival of the Islander at Ryans Creek on 20 January 1978. Scheduled services commenced 21 January 1978. Source of photo unknown.|
|Britten Norman Islander ZK-IAS in her original colour scheme at a gloomy Invercargill on 17 May 1978.|
In these early days Lloyd and Beryl Wilcox of Stewart Island Travel, met the aeroplane at the strip, taking passengers, animals, post, newspaper and food to town by the yellow Ford Transits.
From 1 April 1980, with the withdrawal of Air New Zealand’s Boeing 737 flights between Dunedin and Invercargill, Stewart Island Air Services spread and its wings and introduced a twice weekday return service between the cities. The company initially opted to introduce a De Havilland Canada Twin Otter for the service but instead the company obtained Cessna 402 ZK-DSB and Piper Aztec ZK-TJE to service it.
|Cessna 402B ZK-DSB (above) at Dunedin on the afternoon flight from Invercargill in January 1981. I was rather surprised when a short time the 402 arrived the Piper Aztec ZK-TJE (below) arrived on a courier flight from Invercargill.|
|One of the more stunning colour schemes to see service in New Zealand... Britten Norman Islander ZK-IAS at Invercargill on 4 March 1979.|
While a replacement aircraft was sought Islanders ZK-DBV and ZK-MCE were leased from Mount Cook Airlines. IAS’s replacement came in the form of GAF N22 Nomad ZK-SAL and at this time the company changed its name to Southern Air reflecting that it wasn’t flying to Stewart Island alone. Southern Air will be the second part of this series on New Zealand’s southern most airline.
24 April 2010
Piper Pa28 Warrior ZK-EQS at Takaka on 14 February 2010. Photo : Blue Bus
23 April 2010
The following note is on the Golden Bay Air website... "Our scheduled flights are seasonal. This year our flights cease on 18 April and recommence 22 September. Next season's schedule will be published by late May/early June. If you would like to be advised when bookings become available, please email us."
Golden Bay Air operate between Wellington and Takaka and Takaka and Karamea and use Piper Saratoga ZK-ZIG (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2010/02/spotted-at-wellington.html) and Piper Warrior ZK-EQS...
I would be interested to hear of anyone has sent ZK-EQS of late and if can they tell me whether EQS carries Golden Bay Air titles... Please, either leave a comment or e-mail me at email@example.com
Bay of Plenty-based operator Air Discovery is offering unscheduled, as-required flights linking Gisborne, Tolaga Bay, Ruatoria, Waihau Bay, Opotiki, Whakatane and Tauranga. Pilot Daniel Gillett said the decision to extend passenger flight service to Tairawhiti was in response to the region’s need for an alternative travel solution to navigate across the region. “We fly on demand,” he said. Airstrip agreements have been signed and there are plans to include Te Araroa as part of the available flight locations. Air Discovery hoped to team with local operators to fly the legs closest to Gisborne, he said. “We are looking to strike an agreement with the Gisborne-based aircraft charter company, so our prices will be significantly less for flights to and from Gisborne, Tolaga Bay and Ruatoria,” Mr Gillett said. Prices begin from $199 per person on a minimum two-passenger flight. Flights around the Gisborne area are expected to cost more at this stage – around $500 for the more expensive flights. “If we have to ferry an aircraft from Whakatane to Gisborne, then obviously there is an expense to fly from there,” Mr Gillett said. Mr Gillett said although things were still “very much in the works”, feedback had been positive.
“At this stage the rate is good for any flights closer to our side (Whakatane and Tauranga) but everything else is more expensive than we would like.” As part of the plan to bring prices down, Mr Gillett hoped to eventually turn the as-required flights into a daily service. But it was “a numbers game”. “It’s going to start as an on-demand service but if we can work up the numbers, we will hopefully put in a daily scheduled flight service. If the numbers are there, we will look at a route we would fly every day. It would bring the flight down to possibly $50 between Ruatoria and Gisborne.” “It takes an awfully long time to get around the Coast in a car... I think there will be a big market for us flying trades-people around the East Cape, and of course there’s the tourist market as well,” he said.
He referred to workmen who recently needed to fly from Rotorua to Ruatoria to fix a mobile oxygen system. Mr Gillett had been aware of demand for alternative transport in East Cape for a while but the recent flight from Rotorua “basically confirmed it for us”.
Air Discovery was in contact with a number of accommodation providers regarding potential package deals for tourists. “There’s a real big interest regarding Waihau Bay for game fishing and a spot of hunting.” The flight service would be the first of its kind for the region in at least 20 years, Mr Gillett said. Air Discovery is expected to meet with Gisborne District Council regarding the potential airstrip use in Te Araroa on August 12.
I notice on the FlyDirect website a change of timetable as detailed below. Changes include Wellington getting 7 flights a week instead of 10 and Christchurch similarly having three flights per week cut from their schedule. The big change however is that the timetable can now be operated with one aircraft. The website says, "Our aircraft providers operate a 40-seat aircraft on our routes to Wanaka from Wellington and Christchurch" so it looks as if the Air Chathams Convair is getting the flick in favour of Vincent's Dash 8.
Flight Schedule - July 1 - October 5 2010
Flight Departs Arrives Frequency
Christchurch – Wanaka
FD101 1000 1045 Daily
FD107 1600 1645 Daily
Wanaka – Christchurch
FD102 0845 0930 Daily
FD108 1445 1530 Daily
Wellington – Wanaka
FD201 0645 0810 Daily
Wanaka – Wellington
FD202 1715 1840 Daily
21 April 2010
Air National was founded in 1989 as a dedicated charter airline, initially trading as Menzies Aviation. In 1992 the company was renamed Air National Corporate Ltd and the following year added an Embraer Bandeirante to its fleet and began supporting scheduled regional airline services.
The company introduced its first British Aerospace J32EP Jetstream, ZK-ECN, the “City of Rotorua” to its fleet in. 1996. In 1997 it began using ECN for services between Auckland and Rotorua on behalf of Ansett New Zealand Regional. In September 2000 ECN was registered to Tasman Pacific Regional Airlines, operating with Tasman Pacific Connection titles and with their colours on the tail. It returned to Air National in July the following year.
In January 2006 Air National commenced support services for Air New Zealand Link’s Eagle Air between Auckland and Kaitaia providing twice daily return services on weekdays. Later that year, in August, Air National also received a contract to fly Air New Zealand Link’s new Christchurch-Oamaru service (see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2010/01/31-december-2009-air-new-zealand-drops.html) as well as to fly one or two flights between Christchurch and Hokitika on a daily basis. To facilitate this, and other back up work for Eagle Air, Air National obtained three additional Jetstreams.
The first, ZK-ECI, has had several personas in New Zealand. It began as ZK-REY operating for Ansett Regional from March 1999 to the end of August 2000. It too saw service with Tasman Pacific Connection who reregistered it as ZK-TPC. Following the collapse of Qantas New Zealand it was unused for some time before being picked up by Origin Pacific who registered it ZK-JSU in May 2006. Following the subsequent collapse of Origin Pacific it again languished until purchased by Air National in July 2006. It was registered ZK-ECI and named “Spirit of Waitaki” and flew the inaugural Christchurch-Oamaru service.
Above, ZK-ECJ at Wellington on 15 November 2007 with ZK-ECR below taken at Wellington on the following day, 16 November 2007.
At various times Air National’s Jetstreams, or ‘Sodastreams’ as the irreverent might call them, have been running regular services between Auckland and Taupo, Wellington and Wanganui, Wellington and Westport and Wellington to Blenheim and onto Christchurch as well as the routes mentioned above and for back up work for Eagle’s Beeches that are on maintenance or go unserviceable. With the economic recession these regular flights have all but disappeared. From my reckoning the only regular route the Jetstreams are used on is three days per week between Christchurch and Hokitika. The Christchurch based aircraft is swapped each Friday with a return Christchurch-Blenheim-Wellington service being flown.
20 April 2010
19 April 2010
Tri-motored aircraft are not unknown in New Zealand. The first trans-Tasman flight was flown by Charles Kingsford Smith in a tri-motored Fokker F.VIIb/3m, the Southern Cross. Mercury Airlines and later Great Barrier Airlines flew an Australian tri-motor De Havilland Australia Drover ZK-DDD. More well known was Air New Zealand’s fleet of tri-motored McDonnell Douglas DC-10s. Twenty years ago, this month, New Zealand saw the introduction another tri-motored aircraft, the Britten Norman Trislander.
Trislanders had been mooted for service in New Zealand before this. In 1973 NAC did a running cost comparison between two Trislanders as opposed to one Friendship. In 1980 Stewart Island Air Services evaluated the possibility of using a Trislander on its flights between Invercargill and Dunedin and Invercargill and Stewart Island. Neither evaluations came to anything. Eventually it was Skyferry who was first to introduce Trislanders to New Zealand skies with ZK-SFF starting flying their services between Wellington and Picton and Wellington and Blenheim on the 12th of April 1990. This was followed, much later than expected, by ZK-SFG in September that year.
Trislanders are long... ZK-SFF at Picton's Koromiko airport on 14 December 1990.
NZ Wings gave a good description of the Trislanders in the October 1990 issue; “The two unique aeroplanes are of Belgian manufacture, being put together at Gosselies in 1976 when Britten-Norman was part of the Fairey Group. As with their older cousins, the Islanders, the three-engined Trislanders were ferried "home" to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight for completion as -2 models with a long nose, droop flap and wing tip tanks. The impressive slim line commuters are powered by three 260 hp Lycoming 0-540 E4C5 engines, have a wingspan of 53 feet and a MAUW of 10,000 lbs.” Skyferry operated their Trislanders with two pilots with seating for 14 to 16 passengers depending on luggage.
By mid 1991, however, Skyferry was in serious trouble, the Trislanders contributing significantly to this. The company was placed in receivership on the 14th of July 1991 and at that time Cliff Marchant commented to NZ Wings that when they arrived the pair of Trislanders weren't in such good condition as at first thought. "They cost a lot to get running. ATD hit us with a lot of new requirements that weren't on existing operators. We took six months to get over that, and they relaxed the requirements in the end. The engineering staff were slow in getting the Trislanders going. They overdid the budget last year. Our sundry spares stock went from $40,000 to $250,000 in three months. We were stripped of working capital. In one year wages increased by 250 percent with only 25 per cent more work done. "We had a shootout with the engineering manager and in November went to Safe Air. As soon as the Trislanders went there for maintenance, things changed dramatically, with good reliability. They're an excellent organisation."
With Skyferry in receivership the Trislanders were parked at Woodbourne and eventually sold in the UK, their New Zealand registrations cancelled on 23rd of December 1992. 10 years later, TO THE DAY, another Trislander was registered in New Zealand, ZK-LGR, being the first of Great Barrier Airlines Trislanders, but that is another story!"When they arrived the pair of Trislanders weren't in such good condition as at first thought," Cliff Marchant said of the Skyferry Trislanders. I wonder if Great Barrier would say the same of ZK-LGF... It arrived on the 26th of November last year and is still to enter service. A just in case shot at North Shore on 6 March 2010.
13 April 2010
Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/northland/local-news/northern-news/3549199/Departure-tax-forecast
Passengers on scheduled flights from the Bay of Islands Airport could be charged a departure tax from July 1 by airport owner Far North Holdings. The Far North District Council-owned firm has signalled the tax in a three-year statement of intent, but has not said how much the tax will be. It also plans to make casual parking at the airport free from July 1 and charge commercial operators an annual licence fee to park at the airport. Far North Holdings chairman Tony Norman told district councillors last month the firm needs $4 million over the next four years to fund the runway upgrade. A departure tax would generate extra revenue of about $120,000 a year, providing income to service new loans for the work. Mr Norman hopes to have more details about the tax after a meeting with councillors at the end of the month. Air New Zealand subsidiary Eagle Air says the national carrier is generally unsupportive of airports imposing taxes above the costs they charge the airline to use them. Any tax is an increase in the cost of travel for consumers in a market where Air New Zealand has been striving to lower the cost of travel, says Eagle Air general manager Carrie Hurihanganui. The airline doesn't collect departure taxes at three other airports in New Zealand that levy passengers travelling on scheduled domestic flights. It wouldn't assist in the collection of a tax at Bay of Islands Airport either, Ms Hurihanganui says. Palmerston North International Airport introduced a domestic departure development levy in 1990 to meet its interest costs of borrowing for major redevelopment works, including a new terminal. The levy payable by each passenger aged five years and older was initially $3, but that has since been raised to $5.
Source : www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/3538868/Fewer-fliers-at-airport
Passenger numbers through Timaru's Richard Pearse Airport have dipped for a second year in a row, with no sign of a recovery in patronage. Eagle Air, an Air New Zealand subsidiary which flies the Timaru-Wellington route, has reported a 9 per cent drop in the year to March. While there are no changes planned to the existing service, the company has warned that passenger numbers need to increase. General manager Carrie Hurihanganui said the route had been hit hard by the recession and numbers did not look like recovering. "Eagle Air has needed to ensure it closely matches capacity to demand – we are now down to 19 [return] trips per week on this route versus 24 trips two years ago." Ms Hurihanganui said the 12 months to March 2009 saw a 14 per cent fall in passenger numbers. "The Timaru region demand seems to have been affected significantly by the economic downturn and there are no signs yet of a recovery. We continually monitor our network and route performance and while there are currently no changes planned for the service, we do need passenger numbers to improve again. "The key for regional routes, such as Timaru's, is for the local community to regularly support the services and increase that demand from and to the area."
12 April 2010
Towards the end of 1976 two Hokitika men, Norm Bishop and Pat Pascoe, successfully applied for an air service licence using Piper Cherokee 6 (ZK-ECV) from Hokitika for scenic and charter work. Tom Sunnex was appointed as the first full-time pilot and the company became busy with a range of air charter and scenic flying, the mainstay of the operation in the early days being scenic flights from Hokitika over the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and around Mount Cook. The aircraft was also used for local air ambulance work.
|Westland Flying Services' first aircraft Piper Cherokee 6 ZK-ECV taken at Hokitika in the late 1970s.|
The company soon started flight training, initially with Piper Cherokees but later with Cessna 172s. As a high school student a friend and I rang up about the possibility of a local scenic flight – we had the princely sum on $5 each... it was suggested instead of a local flight there were a couple of seats going to Motueka in the Cherokee 6 if we would be interested... as if we wouldn’t!
|A classic old Piper Pa28 Cherokee 140 ZK-DBT was used for flight training. It is seen here basking in the glorious Hokitika sunshine in September 1978.|
|Cessna 320 ZK-EGN was used for a short time on charter work and scenic flights. It is seen at Hokitika in 1979.|
|The first passengers on the first day of operations, Mrs D Ferguson, Miss V Bannon and Messrs S Orr and R Coburn in front of Air Chater's Aztec ZK-DHB. Source : Greymouth Evening Star 5 December 1979.|
|Westland Flying Services' Cessna 402 ZK-DHW retained its James Air origins but carried Westland titles and a small white heron on the nose of the aircraft. Photo taken at Hokitika in April 1980.|
In addition to the air service the 402 was used on scenic flights to Mount Cook and the Glaciers, and for passenger and freight charters. It flew both whitebait and live deer to the North Island. The 402 would also occasionally offer charters to Christchurch to fly Air New Zealand passengers when the Friendship service was cancelled. During 1980 negotiations were entered into for Westland Flying Services to take over some of Air New Zealand’s unprofitable services. Local interests soon stymied this as an option.
|Westland Flying Services had a counter in the Hokitika terminal but all the flights left using the company's office in the Hokitika Aero Club hangar.|
|Cessna 402 ZK-DHW awaiting its passengers in Christchurch|
Westland Flying Services was, again, an airline that looked for a niche, that, is to provide Westland with a service suitable for businessmen, something the two mid afternoon Friendship services to Wellington (via Westport) and Christchurch failed to provide. Like a lot of other similar attempts it was thwarted by the equipment used, people not having through fares to other destinations, a poor public perception of small aircraft, in their case an unpressurised aircraft over the Alps and the short, unlit runway in Greymouth.
Jill Bishop- Administration, Reception
Norman G. ‘Norm’ Bishop- Managing Director and Shareholder
Tony Budd- Pilot
Duncan Hamilton- Part-time pilot
Bill Hende- Part-time pilot
Geoff Painter- Pilot
Pat Pascoe- Director, Shareholder and Pilot
Duncan Sharp- Pilot
Tom Sunnex- Pilot
Ray Sweeney – Part time pilot
Cessna 172: DFI, DKH, DPN, DSM, ERK
Cessna 320: EGN
Cessna 402: DHW
Piper Pa28 Cherokee: DBT, EBY
Piper Pa32 Cherokee 6: ECV