20 May 2015

First Sunair Flight into Whakatane

Fog in Hamilton delayed Sunair Aviation’s first Whakatane passenger on Monday. Ohope-based doctor Steven Donne was booked to fly from Whakatane to Napier at 9.30am but fog prevented his plane leaving Hamilton. When it failed to clear, Sunair put on another flight out of Tauranga – at additional cost to the company – to ensure Mr Donne made it Hawke’s Bay in time for his scheduled ear, nose and throat clinics. A seasoned flyer, he was philosophical about the delay and satisfied with the airline’s response in offering a full refund or the extra flight. He said the experience would not stop him choosing to fly to Napier in future, rather than driving. Sunair co-owner Bev Power said Hamilton could be bad for fog at times. “It does have an impact on us, as it does on Air New Zealand. Air New Zealand were diverted same as us [on Monday] because we’ve got the same capability as them in terms of IFR … you just cannot get through fog and land safely. “We do have ongoing problems with fog in Hamilton. Overall it doesn’t disrupt a lot of our flights percentage wise, but it can be a problem from time-to-time.” She said when the company realised the fog was not clearing on Monday morning flights were re-arranged and they managed to launch an aircraft out of Tauranga so Mr Donne was able to meet his commitments. “The main thing is to keep people informed,” Mrs Power said. “When they know you are trying your best they are reasonably accommodating.” Tauranga-based Sunair introduced a range of new services at the start of May linking Whakatane to Gisborne, Napier and Hamilton. The flights are scheduled at times to suit business travellers, with one-way fares costing $190 to Gisborne and Hamilton, and $290 to Napier. The pick-up and drop-off of passengers at Whakatane is on demand and subject to bookings.


  1. Ifr in a C172?

  2. Not IFR as it didn't appear on Flightaware... However it could have been one of Sunair's Aztecs... http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/the-aztecs-of-sunair.html

    1. In which case they do not have the same capability as Air NZ's aircraft. Aztecs can not do a reduced minima takeoff in Fog visibility of 400m. They need a cloud base of 300ft and 1500m visibility to takeoff.

    2. A stone-age Aztec does not really compare to a Q300 in terms of all-weather IFR operations. Also a light twin would need a cloud base better than 520 feet for take-off to meet single-engine performance in regards of weather alternate.
      I know it is getting quite technical but often those News articles lack any understanding of aviation.