|NZ Herald, 13 December 1973|
|Aero Commander 680 ZK-DHF at Rotorua on 21 June 1973|
1973/74 14155 Increase 35% over 1973/73
1974/75 14936 Increase 5.5% over 1973/74
|Aero Commander 500 ZK-CWP at Palmerston North, the airline's southern most destination, on 30 January 1976.|
NZ Herald, 28 July 1976
|An old NAC Heron returns - ZK-BBM in its new Air North colour scheme at Ardmore on 5 January 1976.|
|Timetable 28 April 1976|
|Aero Commander 680 ZK-DBQ at Ardmore on 6 March 1976.|
|The second Heron, ZK-EJM at Ardmore on 26 December 1976.|
Meanwhile, in February 1977 Air South Pacific Limited moved to take over Air North. Air South Pacific had been formed on the 2nd of April 1974 for the purpose of applying for an air service licence to run an air safari around New Zealand using a Beech King Air. The company was owned by Christchurch lawyer, John Rutherford, and a Rotorua surgeon, Arthur Hackett. Ian Palmer, the then Managing Director of Air North, remained with the company as chief pilot. On 21 March 1977 the licence was transferred to Air South Pacific Limited.
The takeover did not include all the Air North fleet. One of the Herons, ZK-BBM was transferred to the new company while Ian Palmer retained the other Heron, ZK-EJM, and the Aero Commander, ZK-CWP forming Rotorua Airlines (1977) Ltd to own these aircraft. Rotorua Airlines then leased these aircraft to the “new” Air North. The Grand Commander, ZK-DBQ, was sold to Akarana Air in May 1977. Air South Pacific changed its name to Air North Limited on the 2nd of June 1977 enabling the air service to be continued in its own name.
|Repainted as part of the sale to Air South Pacific, Heron ZK-BBM in its striking colour scheme at Rotorua on 8 August 1977.|
Disaster struck the company on the 9th of May 1977 when the second Heron, ZK-EJM, had a landing incident at Ardmore. The aircraft touched down far down the runway and swerved to the right when the left brake failed. It crossed a drainage ditch and came to rest with serious damage to the nose gear, propellers and both wings. Although the intention was to repair the aircraft, it lay derelict and was later broken up. A replacement de Havilland DH114 Heron 1B, ZK-EKO (c/n 14044), subsequently arrived in New Zealand in June 1977.
|The replacement for ZK-EJM, DH Heron ZK-EKO at Christchurch on 10 September 1977|
In late 1976 and early 1977 Kwikasair Limited had engaged Air North for a number of night freight flights between Christchurch and Auckland. To offset its loss making passenger services Air North sought contracts with a number of freight and courier companies for night freight services from Auckland to Wellington and Christchurch. Before the hearing, however, Air North merged with Auckland charter company Akarana Air which already had an extensive night courier service. Air North advised the Licensing Authority that much of Akarana's business related to the flying of courier freight at night and their aircraft were not utilised to any great extent during the day and that these aircraft would provide excellent backup for Air North’s scheduled services. The proposed merger envisaged that the two trading companies would continue as totally owned subsidiaries of a holding company and the licences and the assets of the trading companies would remain. In other words, the management of the two companies would be joined in a holding company which would administer the two trading companies. The two companies then set about adding each other’s fleet to their own licence.