Sounds Air
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Sounds Air

Sounds Air
Sounds Air Logo.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
HubsWellington International Airport
Fleet size9
HeadquartersPicton, New Zealand
Key peopleCliff Marchant (Director/Owner), Andrew Crawford (Managing Director/Owner), Steve Handyside (Director/Owner)
A Sounds Air Cessna Caravan at Wellington International Airport in 2009
Sounds Air Grand Caravan landing at Picton in 2006.
A Sounds Air Grand Caravan at Christchurch Airport in 2014.
One of Sounds Air's PC12's (ZK-PLV) at Wellington International.

Sounds Air is a New Zealand airline based at Picton.[2] The airline was founded in 1986 by Cliff and Diane Marchant with a vision to provide low cost flights to the Marlborough Sounds.[3] The airline has a maintenance facility at the Feilding aerodrome 15 kilometres northwest of Palmerston North as well as Omaka aerodrome with its Sounds Aero Maintenance division based there.[4]


From a single Cessna Caravan operating one route across the Cook Straight, Sounds Air has grown in 30 years; the airline carried 78,000 passengers in 2015, compared to 14,000 passengers in 2003. In 2008 the airline set up its own maintenance division as the airline could not find a company suitable to maintain its fleet.[5] In 2017, Sounds Air signalled that they were looking at buying twin engine planes for the first time: up to three 19-seater Beech 1900 aircraft to support extra demand for the Blenheim to Christchurch route.[6]


Sounds Air operates scheduled flights between Wellington and Picton, Nelson, Blenheim, Taupo and Westport.[7][8] Scheduled flights are also available between Blenheim and Christchurch,[9]Napier[10] and Paraparaumu. Nelson also has flights to Paraparaumu.[11] Sounds Air formerly served Kaikoura and Whanganui[12] from Wellington and Kapiti Coast from Picton.[13] A service to Masterton was being considered from Wellington, however no such service eventuated, because the town wanted the link to Auckland reinstated instead.[14] In addition to scheduled flights Sounds Air offers scenic flights over the Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman National Park.[15] The airline started temporary services to Kaikoura from Christchurch and Blenheim on 21 November 2016 following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.[16] The Kaikoura to Christchurch flights ceased from 27 January 2017[17] followed by the Blenheim flights on 29 December 2017. From this date onwards Kaikoura will become a charter route only.[18]


Sounds Air operates scheduled services to the following destinations within New Zealand:


As of November 2016 Sounds Air operates the following aircraft:[20]

Sounds Air Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
Cessna 208 Caravan
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
Pilatus PC-12
Total 9

Accidents and incidents

  • On 19 March 1989 Britten Norman BN2A Islander, ZK-SFE, while attempting to land at Tiraora Lodge struck a telephone wire and descended into the sea. The pilot and five passengers were rescued but suffered varying degrees of injury.[21]
  • On 29 January 1996 Cessna 208 Caravan, ZK-SFA, crashed into the eastern slopes of Mount Robertson on approach to Picton Aerodrome at Koromiko after a flight from Wellington. All five passengers were killed, but the pilot survived.[22]


  1. ^ a b Not an ICAO allocation - issued for domestic use by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
  2. ^ "Airline schedules more Nelson flights". The Nelson Mail. 20 November 2007. Retrieved 2009.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 December 2014. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Ltd, Beacon Hill Design. "Sounds Aero Maintenance » Marlborough based aircraft maintenance".
  5. ^ a b Lewis, Oliver. "Charting its own course: Marlborough airline Sounds Air is flying high in the cut-throat world of aviation". Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "Larger planes between Christchurch and Blenheim could return early next year". Stuff Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ L, Steve (21 January 2015). "3rd Level New Zealand: Exciting News for Sounds Air and Westport".
  8. ^ "Regional routes rise again". Stuff.
  9. ^ "Sounds Air to replace Air NZ on Christchurch to Blenheim route". Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "Wine flights on track for November". Stuff.
  11. ^ "Timetables". Sounds Air. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  12. ^ "Airline cans Wellington service". Wanganui Chronicle. 2 May 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  13. ^ L, Steve (23 December 2013). "3rd Level New Zealand: A lovely day in Kaikoura".
  14. ^ "Sounds Air looks at landing Wairarapa deal". Stuff.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Sounds Air starts special flights to quake-hit Kaikoura". Newshub. Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ "Sounds Air".
  18. ^ L, Steve (22 December 2017). "3rd Level New Zealand: Kaikoura Flights to End".
  19. ^ "Planes going one way empty': Sounds Air cut Napier to Blenheim service". Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ "Fleet". Sounds Air. Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ "Aviation Reports". TAIC. Retrieved 2015.
  22. ^ "Aviation Reports". Aviation Reports. TAIC. Retrieved 2013.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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