New airline for Tauranga

North Shore Air’s chief pilot Darryl Williamson, pilot Andrew Underwood and CEO Peter Newman. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

A new airline connecting Tauranga and Auckland is going through the final phases of civil aviation accreditation before beginning operations.

North Shore Air will offer scheduled and charter services from Tauranga to Dairy Flat on Auckland’s North Shore, says Aviation Safety Management Systems director Heather Andrews.

She adds that the Dairy Flat flight incorporates a direct connection with the Auckland central business district that can move passengers from Dairy Flat airfield into the city in just 20 minutes.

“It can be quite a nightmare to get from Manukau [where the existing airport is] to the city. You have to go the evening before if you have an 8.30am or 9am meeting because of the traffic.

“This plane has a really special feature – a beautiful corporate minivan, so it goes straight down the bus lane from North Shore so you are in town in 20 minutes – and it’s as cheap as chips.”

CEO of North Shore Air Peter Newman says the flight time is 40 minutes and the adult fare is $249 one way. He says it might be on the high side compared with some of the cheaper Air New Zealand fares, but they are offering the convenience of direct connections for the expanding North Shore catchment.

North Shore Air will also fly to Kerikeri, and they are in the process of arranging a second air craft, a 10 seater.

Heather’s project managed the birth of the airline – she wrote the management procedures, flight operations, maintenance.

“It’s good because this is how Eagle Air started off many, many years ago, the same sort of thing,” says Heather.

Eagle Air began operating from Hamilton in 1969 and within 18 months was operating six aircraft in flight training and air transport. It began scheduled passenger services in 1973 from Hamilton to Palmerston North, Wanganui and New Plymouth.

North Shore Air made a proving flight to Tauranga this week with a civil aviation official on board.

“They should get their certificate this week, then we want to sit and consolidate and get some marketing through,” says Heather. “We should be able to get a commencement date sometime this week.”

The aircraft is a Piper Navaho light twin, that seats six to eight passengers.

North Shore Air is expected to be open for business later this month. The website, northshoreair.co.nz, is due to go live, and there will be a Facebook page also.