Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Air NZ introduces "seat only" flight option to domestic flights

After flagging this as a possibility just a few days ago, Air New Zealand has introduced the seats to suit option to its domestic fares. No real fanfare so far, although there has been the odd hyped up headline, such as Air New Zealand slashes domestic fares [I'm not sure that an average of 6% drop is "slashing"], but never mind. The Australian Business Traveller possibly has the most appropriate headline with Air New Zealand goes low-cost carrier with "seat only" domestic fares. Still, it's not all bad - actually, I think it is a good move.

However, after some comparisons a few days ago for flights in February 2012, I thought I would take a look and see what the fare difference is now. I know that this is not scientific - it's an extremely small [single day] check - but unfortunately, Air New Zealand's cheapest fares [now without checked luggage] are the same price as they were, and so Jetstar is now $20 a sector cheaper, likewise when you add the checked baggage option [the fully flexible fares from both operators are the same price]! I guess time will tell what comes of this - Air NZ is a good operator and I'm sure they will be very competitive.

It will be interesting to know how Air NZ will go about enforcing the 7kg weight and size limits for cabin baggage - this could be a real source of frustration for passengers. Also, with their smallest aircraft [the B1900D] having no overhead lockers and limited under-seat space [not to mention ATR72-600's coming on line over the next couple or so years], I can't help wondering if the B1900's will have a limited future lifespan... too early for predictions from me though!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A quiet day

Just one aircraft photo today, a Piper PA28-181, ZK-LJE, registered to Canterbury Aero Club. Apart from that, I spent much of the afternoon helping to shift "stuff" out of the old Club building. Anyway, here's the photo.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A busy day at the Aero Club

It was another lovely weather day in Wellington and so the Aero Club was busy all day. Awesome! I got to go flying, with a flight out to our local Low Flying Zone for a bit of practice. I didn't do too bad, although I will improve with a bit more practice.

I saw a some "new" aircraft today. First up is the Club's new Cessna A152, ZK-ETS. This is the first time we have had a basic aerobatic trainer in some time, and is a welcome addition to the fleet. Hopefully it is here to stay for a while.

Second is another Cessna, a Reims/ Cessna F406, ZK-CEC, registered to Air Charter East Coast of Gisborne. Lastly is a Hughes 369D, ZK-HRF, registered to Precision Helicopters of an Urenui address.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Air NZ "seats to suit" on domestic flights?

Could this be an as-yet unannounced change to the way Air NZ sells domestic airfares?

When checking up on a future-dated Wellington to Auckland flight [Feb 2012], I noted that the "product type" was Seat + Bag, indicating that Air NZ's Seats to Suit product, previously limited to Tasman and Pacific flights may be coming to domestic flights.

Hey, maybe I'm way behind on this one and it has already been announced, but this is the first I have heard of it! Maybe it's just a website change and doesn't indicate a change to how the domestic product is sold. Anyway, a screenshot follows. As always, click on the image to get the best view.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jetstar - Wellington to Auckland supersonic flights?

I'm looking at booking flights to/ from Auckland for next February. I'll be flying Air New Zealand, but I thought for a laugh, I'd look at the Jetstar website.

They say they are cheaper, but I wanted to see if this is true, and if so, by how much.

OK, so this is not a scientific test, but I got more than I bargained for!

Firstly - they were cheaper, by a miserly NZD$10 a sector when you include 20kg baggage [same as Air NZ], although Air NZ would give me status points and I would have to pay extra for those on Jetstar. So, much of a muchness.

The big difference came in flight times. Air NZ indicates a 1 hour flight [Boeing 737-300 or Airbus 320-100/200]. For one of Jetstar's flights [Airbus A320], they say 1 hour and 5 minutes, for the other, 5 minutes!!! Given that they Airbus A320 is not supersonic, I doubt it... :-) Still, it would be nice! Screenshot below [click for a larger image]:

Monday, November 21, 2011

A quick flight in the Auckland Aero Club Skycatcher

As you will have seen from my previous posts, last weekend was spent in Auckland.

While there, I was able to go for a dual flight in Auckland Aero Club's Cessna 162 Skycatcher light sport aircraft, ZK-AAC. The weather wasn't ideal - approximate 20-25 knots surface wind, mostly coming from 20-30 degrees right of runway 21 - in other words, the potential for turbulence :-)

Anyway, the aircraft is pretty interesting. Clearly very light without some of the fancy coverings you see in many other aircraft, it's very comfortable, and for such a small aircraft, it has a very wide and comfy cabin. Visibility in the turns is not great as the seats are positioned a long way back. It will be interesting to see how it handles the rigours of flight training, but I could imagine this as a great owner's plane.

As you'll see in the photos, there's just a single screen which contains all the required instrumentation and makes for a very uncluttered panel. Perhaps surprisingly, and despite this being only the second time I've flown an aircraft with an LCD PFD, it was all pretty easy to read and understand - a definite bonus!

Flying the aircraft was easy enough. OK, so I'm not claiming that I was very good, but it was easy to fly. Given that it was a short flight, there were just a few turns, then back for an overhead rejoin and some circuits. The biggest problem I had was the turbulence over the fence with the crosswind - it made me look all rather amateur :-( Having said that, I didn't damage the aircraft and Nicola [the instructor] didn't take control, so it can't have been all that bad!

I'd really like to take another flight, perhaps on a nicer day next time.

Photos are of the aircraft, of the panel during the flight, the Waterworks visual reporting point, and the entrance to the Aero Club. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Visit to Auckland, Ardmore #2

Following on from my previous post, here are the photos from this evening's brief visit to the viewing area at Auckland airport. Top to bottom are:

Boeing 737-219C, ZK-NQC, registered to Airwork Operations
Britten-Norman BN2.A Mk.III-2, ZK-LGF, registered to Great Barrier Airlines
Airbus A330-200, B-6532, registered to China Southern Airlines

Visit to Auckland, Ardmore

For the second weekend in a row I am up in Auckland, this time for the whole weekend. This brief getaway was planned for some time, as a time to get out of town and to catch up with some friends.

After flying up on Air NZ then collecting a rental car, I headed out to Auckland Aero Club at Ardmore airfield. Ardmore is where I learnt to fly back in 1998/ 1999 and I was Club Captain for 3 years before leaving for Wellington.

I'm planning on heading back there tomorrow afternoon, where I have a flight booked in the Clubs Cessna 162 Skycatcher, ZK-AAC. here's hoping that the weather plays nicely :-)

Anyway, just a few photos from Ardmore,the next post will have some from Auckland. Enjoy! Top to bottom are:

Extra EA 300/L, ZK-XRA, registered to X Flight Ltd
Cessna 162 Skycatcher, ZK-AAC, registered to Auckland Aero Club
Bell 206L, ZK-ICV, registered to Workstore NZ Ltd

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another Auckland visit this weekend

Just a heads up that I will be in Auckland [again!] this weekend, hopefully to take the Auckland Aero Club Cessna 162 Skycatcher up for a flight. That is something I am looking forward to!

Thankfully no early morning flights this time around...

If anyone does want to catch up, I'll be at AAC most of Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday afternoon at the aero club

After the quick trip to Auckland, I spent a bit of time at the aero club on Sunday afternoon. The weather was fantastic! One of the best we've had in the last few weeks. The bets part of the afternoon was taking some friends for a fly around in the Club's Cessna 172, but later on I also took a couple of pictures. Nothing as flahs as a B787, but still :-)

The pictures are as follows: Firstly, a CTC registered Diamond DA42, ZK-CTJ, followed by an Air New Zealand Boeing 737-33A, ZK-NGP. It's going to be a shame when these classics disappear from our skies over the next couple of years. Last is a Robinson R44 II, ZK-IDO coming in to land.

Other news is that I'll be in Auckland this coming weekend, so we'll see what comes of that aviation-wise.


Finally, more of the Boeing 787

In this last post from last weekend's trip we have a few more Dreamliner arrival photos. Nothing much I can add really, except take a look at the last photo [within the yellow circle - click on the image]. These two had to have the very best position for the arrival! I'm very jealous!


Airbus A320's from last weekend

Airbus A320's are a staple of the domestic, trans-Tasman and trans-Pacific traffic. Here are a couple of them:

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJO, registered to Air New Zealand
Airbus A320-232, VH-VQE, registered to Jetstar Airways

Airbus A330/ A340 aircraft from last weekend

Just in case you though it was an all-Boeing day, here's some pictures of Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft.

Top to bottom are:

Airbus A330-202, VH-EBD, registered to Jetstar Airways
Airbus A340-313X, B-HXJ, registered to Cathay Pacific
Airbus A330-203, VH-EBG, registered to Qantas Airways

Boeing 777's from last weekend

Here are some of the Boeing 777's I saw from the weekend. Top to bottom are:

Boeing 777-219, ZK-OKD, registered to Air New Zealand
Boeing 777-312, 9V-SWM, registered to Singapore Airlines
Boeing 777-2D7, HS-TJR, registered to Thai Airways International

Boeing 747's from last weekend

In addition to seeing the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, I hung around for a few hours [ok, so I had nowhere else to go!] to get photos of some other aircraft.

I've got to say that Auckland seems kinda quiet of a Saturday morning, but there was still plenty of variety. In this post I'll cover off the Boeing 747's that came through.

Top to bottom are:

Boeing 747-419, ZK-NBU, registered to Air New Zealand
Boeing 747-4B5, HL7460, registered to Korean Air
Boeing 747-467, B-HUJ, registered to Cathay Pacific

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner lands in New Zealand!

As I write this, I am sitting in the Air NZ Koru lounge in Auckland awaiting my next flight. I arrived in Auckland earlier today, so it's only a quick visit. The purpose of the visit is quite clear - the arrival of the Boeing B787-8, N787BA, in New Zealand. In fact, this is the first landing of a Dreamliner in the southern hemisphere.

The day started early with a 7am departure from Wellington, and a comfortable ride to Auckland in the space + section of an Air NZ B737. Then it was a short wait for the B787, which arrived right on schedule around 10am.

On to the pictures... the first is a picture of the sunrise in Wellington and after that, a bunch of pictures of Boeing's newest model touching down and taxying. An awesome looking aircraft, one which I'm sure Air NZ and passengers are eagerly waiting for. More to come [including many other aircraft from the visit] in the next few days.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Air NZ and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner... Guess what I'm doing on Saturday????!

The official word is out! The first ever visit to New Zealand of a Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner, is this Saturday, arriving at Auckland [NZAA] mid morning!

Here's the Air New Zealand [launch customer of the B787-9 variant] press release : Boeing 787 Dreamliner to ...

I'd love to be able to visit the aircraft up close, lodge a decent report and some tweets, but it's not going to be open for visits on the Saturday. I will, however, try and get a number of good photographs and see how quickly I can get some blog entries up [my IT set up should be fully mobile now - I guess this is the big test].

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Info please: Boeing 787 Dreamliner visit to Auckland

Does anyone have any information on the timing of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner visit to Auckland later this month? This aircraft is visiting Air New Zealand for 3 days. I understand that it is not open to the media or public, but I am hoping to get some decent photos of the arrival.

It is scheduled to arrive on Saturday 12 November, but what I need to know is the planned arrival time.

Many thanks!