12 August 2015

Originair - The New Cook Strait Carrier


UPDATED MAY 2016


When Air New Zealand announced its intention to withdraw from the Nelson to Palmerston North in late 2015 Robert Inglis started a process of due diligence to look at operating an air service on the route. This led to the establishment of Origin Air Ltd in March 2015. In June 2015 the company announced its intention to fly scheduled services on the Nelson-Palmerston North and Nelson-Wellington routes. Robert Inglis said, "We have been working hard since December to be ready to fly between Nelson and Palmerston North by the 12th of August 2015." 

Robert Inglis described Originair’s move as 'modest.' "This isn't Ben Hur, it's a very small operation. We own the equipment, we're not exposed to a lot of risk with exchange rates, we have operated this route and know it well.  Hopefully we're just offering Nelson people another choice." Originair's standard fares for Nelson-Wellington range $129 to $257 for a flexi fully refundable fare, and for Nelson Palmerston North from $169 to $289. 

In preparation for the service Originair opened a head office in central Nelson in June 2015 and the airline announced plans to employ up to 20 staff in Nelson and Palmerston North. Mike Curry has been employed as general manager and Shawn Hansen as Customer Service Manager. A new check-in facility and two counters were opened in the Nelson Airport terminal shortly before services commenced.

The company also undertook a major refurbishment of British Aerospace Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH (c/n 838) that is owned by Inglis Aircraft Ltd. This has included a repaint in “grey and citrus.” Originair gave Nelson-based National Aircraft Interiors the contract to custom design the seats and parts of the interior of the aircraft along with RepairCraft who perform line maintenance on the fleet.

Originair's spectacular looking BAe Jetstream 31, ZK-JSH, at Wellington on 30 July 2015
The interior of ZK-JSH

Because of the small scale of the operation Originair has contracted Air Freight NZ Ltd to carry out flight operations including air crew while Fieldair Engineering Ltd (Fieldair) are carrying out the fleet maintenance.  

Originair commenced daily return services between Nelson and Palmerston North on the 12th of August 2015 with ZK-JSH operating the first flight to Palmerston North, OGN101, and the return flight to Nelson OGN102. On the flight deck were Captain Dion McMillan and First Officer Richard Fraser. The first flight was greeted at Palmerston North with a water cannon salute by the Airport Fire Service. Passengers were greeted Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith and Palmerston North Airport chief executive David Lanham.

The first flight, Originair 101, arrives at Palmerston North. More photos and reporting at
http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/71042798/originair-lands-in-palmerston-north

While initially twice daily weekday flights were planned the service began with twice daily return flights offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with a return service being operated on Sundays. The company hopes to increase to a six day a week service on the route over the summer.






The first Nelson to Wellington return service was operated on Sunday the 13th of September 2015 with BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH operating OGN 203 into Wellington arriving into the capital at 2.13pm. The return flight OGN204 left Wellington at 3.00pm. In the week that followed BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-ECI entered service with Originair. Originally twice daily weekday return flights were planned with a single return service on Saturdays and Sundays, however, the revised schedule saw twice daily return flights on Mondays and Fridays with a single return flight on Wednesdays and Sundays. A return Saturday flight began in November.

Timetable downloaded from the Originair website, 8 August 2015

For a pictorial review of an Originair flight see:
http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/11/og-2202-wellington-to-nelson.html


British Aerospace 32 Jetstream ZK-ECI at Nelson on 5 December 2015

From the 1st of February 2016 Originair suddenly ceased operating its Jetstreams and Inflite Charters were contracted to operate Originair's services using Fairchild Metroliners. There was a lot of speculation as to the reason for this change but the Civil Aviation Authority were certainly involved.

On 30 March 2016 Originair ceased flying with the last flights being flown between Nelson and Palmerston North before the Inflite Metroliner positioned back to Auckland. The company's website showed all Nelson-Wellington and Nelson-Palmerston North flights as "unavailable" or "fully booked" but reservations being available on a restricted timetable from mid-June.  Robert Inglis was reported as saying Originair expected imminent advice that the one or two issues with the CAA had been sorted out and it would begin flying again.

5 comments:

  1. How do you fit a turbocharger to a TPE331 to make it a "turbo aircraft"?

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  2. i believe repaircraft has been contracted by feildair not origin air.

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  3. While in pursuit of my golf ball around the outskirts of Nelson Airport last Monday 2/5 I noticed ECI performing some type of stationary run for several minutes.

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  4. ECI flew from Nelson to Palmerston North on Friday 6 May, maintenance?

    ReplyDelete