30 June 2011

The Sun is Shining on Golden Bay Air



UPDATED - June 2017


Golden Bay Air had its origins in a company called Zephair Limited which was founded by Richard Molloy and Lisa Sheppard in November 2005. Flights begab between Wellington and Takaka beginning on the 12th of January 2006 under the name of Capital Air. A change to the company name was made in September 2006 when Zephair Ltd was renamed Capital Air Bookings Ltd.

The company mainly used Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga, ZK-ZIG on the service (c/n 32R 8013045) but Beech 58 Baron ZK-WLV (c/n TH 698) was also used. The aircraft were based in Wellington and crewed by instructors from the Wellington Aero Club. Initially flights operated twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, with additional flights over long weekends. In 2006 these flights ran until Queens Birthday weekend and then ceased over the winter months restarting in late September. In following years the flights ran from late September until late April with the frequency of flights increasing, especially during peak summer periods. During the peak season up to six flights were scheduled per week with additional flights operated on demand.

Piper PA32 Saratoga ZK-ZIG at Takaka on 30 November 2007
Also used occasionally on the service was Beech 58 Baron ZK-WLV which was photographed at Hokitika on 7 June 1996

Capital Air, 1 September 2007

As well as the flights to Takaka, Capital Air also operated charter and scenic flights from Wellington


Same plane - different titles! Above, Piper Saratoga ZK-ZIG with Capital Air titles at Wellington on 16 April 2009 and below, with Golden Bay Air titles as it gets airborne from Wellington for Takaka on 4 February 2010.
 





In May 2009 Capital’s Air base was moved from Wellington to Takaka and the company was renamed Golden Bay Air Ltd to reflect its increasing commitment to the Bay. In making the move to Takaka the company also sought improvements to the Takaka airfield. These works included maintaining the cross runway and the provision of a GNSS instrument approach. The company also advocated the cross runway being sealed and a loop taxiway being established. Co-owner Lisa Sheppard told the Golden Bay Weekly that this could enable the introduction of “a bigger aircraft – maybe a 10-seater.” said Ms Sheppard. With the move to Takaka Golden Bay Air increased the number of flights to Wellington by 20%, added a scheduled service to Karamea for trampers on the Heaphy Track and, in October 2009, and added Piper Pa28-161 Warrior II (c/n 28 8016367) to the fleet. The company also introduced a shuttle service to Wainui in Abel Tasman National Park and Browns Hut at the start of the Heaphy Track to connect with their services.


Piper Warrior, ZK-EQS, at Takaka on 14 February 2010.

From the 22nd of September 2010 Golden Bay Air introduced a year-round Takaka-Wellington service. At that time the timetable indicated that from the 22nd of September to the 18th of December the company would operate a single flight six days a week. Over the summer break until the end of January two to four daily flights were scheduled, depending on demand, and then from the 31st of January till the 30th of April the company planned to operate two return flights from Sunday through to Thursday, three flights on a Friday and a single flight on a Saturday. Over the winter months the company planned a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday flight offered. The company is also offered a daily scheduled flight between Takaka and Karamea from the 22nd of September 2010 to the 30th of April 2011 with winter flights being on demand.

2010 saw a new GNSS instrument approach being commissioned at Takaka with new RNAV routes to Takaka implemented. The company also built a new hangar and rebranded the Saratoga in the company's new colour scheme maroon colour scheme. The company also moved its Wellington arrival and departure point from the Wellington Aero Club, first to Capital Jet Services and later to the main terminal building increasing the public profile of the air service.


Piper Saratoga ZK-ZIG arriving into Wellington from Takaka on the 10th of April 2012. Golden Bay Air's new colour scheme promises passengers a golden destination

Following an incident with the Warrior ZK-EQS in early 2011, the company imported a more powerful Piper Pa28-181 Archer II, ZK-ZOG (c/n 28 8690010) which was delivered to Takaka in April 2011. This is mainly used for to Karamea and for local flying, however, it has been noted flying the Wellington service when loads are light.



Piper Pa28-181 Archer ZK-ZOG enjoying the Golden Bay's golden sunshine in June 2011.

The company had, for some time, being wanted to introduce a more reliable air service capable of operating in all weathers. With the installation of the new instrument approach Golden Bay Air introduced Piper Pa34-220T Seneca III, ZK-ZAG (c/n 34-8333002) to its fleet in June 2011. The Seneca and the Saratoga will both be primarily used on the Wellington service.


Looking very sharp is Golden Bay Air's Piper Seneca ZK-ZAG awaiting take-off clearance at Wellington on 27 October 2014.



By winter 2011 the company had reviewed its winter timetable and now offered a Takaka-Wellington return Sunday to Friday with a second flight on Wednesdays and Fridays - ideal for aircraft enthusiasts who want to try out this innovative airline and do a day return trip from Wellington. Golden Bay also operates an all year around on-demand for pre-booked passengers service from Takaka to Karamea.



Golden Bay Air timetable as at June 2011. http://www.goldenbayair.co.nz/
The Golden Bay sun shining on the Golden Bay Air fleet - Saratoga ZK-ZIG, Seneca ZK-ZAG and Archer ZK-ZOG at Takaka in June 2011.
In April 2012 a small terminal was erected at the Takaka airfield.  


Golden Bay Air's terminal at Takaka on 22 January 2014

The 2016/17 summer season saw the company adding scheduled flights from both Takaka and Karamea to Nelson in support of people tramping the Heaphy and Abel Tasman tracks.  




Golden Bay Air's timetable as at May 2017

Golden Bay Air continues to operate year round flights between Takaka and Wellington with up to four flights a day being flown at peak times and a daily flight during the winter. Flights from Takaka to Karamea operate on demand. There are numerous flights particularly over the summer season and mountain bike season on the Heaphy track.


For a pictorial essay of flights with Golden Bay Air see:


http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/a-day-with-golden-bay-air-part-1.html

and
http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/a-day-with-golden-bay-air-part-2.html
and
http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/a-day-with-golden-bay-air-part-3.html

2 comments:

  1. I remember the original golden Bay Air; owned by Kerry Page and operating a 206 ZK DVI until written off in an accident on D'Urville Island. Then operated Cherokee 6 for around 6 months or so until wound up. This would have been around 1988

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