Local businessman Rodney Harmon soon took over the operation and Chris Thompson was appointed as the operations manager and chief pilot. While core business was whale watching flights, charter services, remote strip operations and supply dropping were also offered. A small office was established on the Kaikoura airfield.
|Early days... Piper Cherokee 180 ZK-DGM, the Whale Explorer at Kaikoura on 21 December 1993|
|Cessna 206 ZK-KAI with its registration reflecting its home base. Photo taken at Kaikoura on 9 January 1998|
|Kaikoura Star, 20 December 1995|
In 1996 Piper Pa32-260 Cherokee 6 ZK-NOW was used to inaugurate a Kaikoura to Wellington air service that operated on Fridays and Sundays. Air Direct were also offering Wellington to Kaikoura flights at this time. In 1996 Rodney Harmon took over Straits Air Charter which operated Air Marlborough. Towards the end of 1996 GAF N24A Nomad ZK-NAD was added to the Air Tours Kaikoura fleet and this was used for whale watching, on the air service between Kaikoura and Wellington as well as providing extra capacity for Air Marlborough’s service between Blenheim and Wellington. In addition to the Wellington service a connecting, on-demand service was operated between Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs using either the Cessna or Piper.
|Piper Cherokee 6 ZK-NOW inaugurated the air service to Wellington. It was photographed on 8 February 1997 at Ashburton|
|An undated winter timetable|
|Off on another whale watching flight, GAF N24 Nomad Zk-NAD at Kaikoura on 9 January 1998. Note the Royal Flying Doctor Service wings below the front passenger window|
|Ouch! Nomad ZK-NAD making a wheels up landing at Woodbourne of 5 January 1997. Kaikoura Star, 8 January 1997|
|And some local humour a week later... Kaikoura Star, 15 January 1997|
|An undated Air Tours Kaikoura summer timetable|
Whale Watch Air merged with Air Tours Kaikoura in December 1997 with the resultant company being named Wings Over Whales.
Kaikoura Star, 10 December 1997
Air Tours Kaikoura continued to operate the Kaikoura to Wellington service and the day to day operations of Air Marlborough. Cessna 172N ZK-SBJ was registered to Air Tours Kaikoura for a time in 1998.