Red tape forces Air National to cancel Norfolk Island flight

Air National BAe 146-200 ZK-ECO

Air National BAe 146-200 ZK-ECO (Colin Hunter)

Air National‘s planned charter from Tauranga, on New Zealand’s North Island, to Norfolk Island over the easter weekend was snared by bureaucratic red tape. The fully-booked flight, on behalf of tour operator House of Travel Tauranga, was to have been Tauranga’s first international commercial flight, and an example of the kind of new markets that Air National hoped to be able to access with its new 84-seat BAe 146-200, ZK-ECO (msn E2130). A first problem concerned Tauranga’s lack of customs and immigrations facilities. Air National addressed this by arranging a stop-off en route at Hamilton to clear immigration. The other problem concerned the need for a high-frequency communications system, which is required for any flight beyond 45 minutes of New Zealand’s coast (Norfolk Island is almost two hours away). Air National installed the necessary system, under supervision of New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). At this point, however, the CAA decided that a full airworthiness test was needed. Air National was forced to cancel the Norfolk Island flight when it could not guarantee that this test would be completed in time.

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