|A crowd of people standing round South Island Airways de Havilland DH89B Domine at Ashburton on the first day of the service, the 24th of February 1953. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-32743-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23506576|
|Unidentied men standing in front of a South Island Airways airplane at Ashburton, Canterbury Region. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-32742-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23505871|
Initially two flights a week were flown on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These were normally flown by the Dominie but when this was unavailable, the Canterbury Aero Club’s de Havilland DH90 Dragonfly ZK-AFB was hired. From the 15th of May 1953 the schedule was changed with morning and afternoon services being flown on Monday and Fridays. The Oamaru Mail reported that “The new service should prove more popular with North Otago travellers. The first plane will depart from Harewood at 7.45 a.m. and arrive at Oamaru at 9.50 a.m. It will leave Oamaru at 9.50 a.m. and reach Harewood again at 10.25 a.m. This morning service, a direct one, will enable Oamaru passengers to join N.A.C. aircraft at Harewood for nearly all destinations in the North Island. To connect with the 7.45 plane to Oamaru an airways coach will pick up passengers arriving by the steamer express at 7.30 a.m. at the west end of the Christchurch Railway Station (by arrangement). In the afternoon a plane will leave Harewood at 2.00 p.m., arrive at Ashburton at 2.30 p.m., depart Ashburton at 2.40 p.m. and reach Oamaru at 3.40 p.m. It will leave Oamaru at 3.55 p.m. arrive at Ashburton at 4.50 p.m., depart Ashburton at 5.00 p.m. and reach Harewood at 5.30 p.m. This plane will connect with the last aircraft from Harewood to Wellington and will also enable Oamaru passengers to join the steamer express. The South Island Airways are offering a special reduced fare for the daily Oamaru-Harewood return trip. “The new schedule, especially the morning timetable, should suit this district," an official commented to The Mail to-day. "The patronage accorded the service has not been very good so far and we do not want to lose it,” he added.”
|The first flight to Nelson on 1 February 1954... from left Bill Best (engineer), Jennifer Russell (ground hostess) and Brian Chadwick (pilot)|
|First Day Cover for the inaugural South Island Airways flight from Christchurch to Nelson|
Growth in passenger numbers was slow. In the year ended 31 March 1954 South Island Airways had carried 1625 passengers and flew a total of 57,927 miles. Nonetheless the service to South Canterbury and North Otago was extended to five days a week on the 1st of October 1954 while at the same time the Nelson service, was extended to three flights a week. Later, this service also was operated five days a week.
|A rather forlorn looking DH Dragon Rapide ZK-BFK at Christchurch|