UPDATED DECEMBER 2015
Sunair Aviation Ltd was established in by Dan Power and his wife Bev in 1985. Two years later they applied to the Civil Aviation Authority for an air operator's certificate and commenced charter operations. In late 1988 Sunair introduced two air services, a Tauranga-Auckland service using Cessna 402B Utililiner ZK-EHS, (c/n 402B-0217) and a summer service from Tauranga to Great Barrier Island using various single engine aircraft.
|Sunair's first aircraft, Piper Pa32-260 Cherokee 6 taken at Tauranga on 27 March 1989. Photo : B Gavin|
|Barrier Bulletin advertising in more primitive days, December 1988. Note the telephone number for bookings, 2D!|
|Annoyance... light in the camera or a flaw in the film in the only photo I took of Cessna 206, ZK-DRD in Sunair colours. Taken at Tauranga on 22 January 1992. Photo : S Lowe|
|Barrier Bulletin November 1990|
|Barrier Bulletin November/December 1991|
|Barrier Bulletin, December 1996|
|From the route structure and Great Barrier Island timetable, effective 4 October 2010|
From the 1st of December 2014 Sunair moved the Auckland terminus of its Whitianga flights from Auckland International to Ardmore Airport. At the same Sunair introduced flights from Ardmore to Great Barrier Island as well as strengthening the Whitianga flights by removing the "two passengers required" restriction before the flights operated. Passengers at Ardmore are able to park for free at Sunair’s secure parking facility, while those arriving from Great Barrier Island or Whitianga who do not have vehicles can choose to either rent a car from the airport or take a $5 regular shuttle to the nearby Papakura train hub. Sunair's first flight operated on Wednesday 3 December 2014, 31 years to the day after Great Barrier Airlines’ operated their first flight between Auckland and Great Barrier Island, Sunair commenced their service from Ardmore. The first flight was operated in Cessna 172 ZK-DHN under the cimmand of Ryan Bergman. The flight left Ardmore at 8.00am, landing at Whitianga before continuing on to the Barrier.
|The new Great Barrier Island and Whitianga services|
Barrier Bulletin, November 2014
|Ryan Bergman with the first passenger to Whitianga on the "new" Sunair services on 3 December 2014.|
Photo : Mercury Informer
In their first summer of operation the new services from Ardmore to Whitianga and Great Barrier Island proved very popular and from 1 May 2015 these were extended by the offering of two new services between Great Barrier Island and Hamilton and Great Barrier Island and Whangarei. On the same day Whakatane was included on flights to and from Gisborne, Napier and Hamilton.
|One of the earlier Cessna 172's, ZK-SAL taken at Tauranga on the 16th of December 1993. Photo : S Lowe|