Saturday, January 29, 2011

Masterton (MRO) take II

I t was the end of the month and as is traditional at my office, this meant office drinks and a bite to eat. I had about an hour before I left for Wellington train station to catch the 6.18pm to Masterton.  The fare is $17 which for some reason I swear has gone up since my last attempt at this airport.  The train was on time and whilst there were three noisy children in the seats opposite me, it was a good journey.  I got to see a great deal of the countryside whizz by.  Last time I made the trip it was dark for the whole journey and so was a nice surprise to see the greenery.  I had decided that the 40minutes I had between arriving at the station (this time opting for Solway Station which is the one prior to masterton and closer to the airport) I booked a taxi in advance to cut out any potential for delays to the train making me run and possibly miss the flight and yet again get marooned in MRO!

I subsequently arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and the service down from AKL arriving about ten minutes later.  The turnaround of the aircraft was quick and unlike last visit the skies were clear, although there some dark formations over the Rimutaka range looming toward us.
The take off down the runway to the north seated in my favourite B1900D position, 3A, was fast and it felt faster than normal.  Perhaps because I hadn’t been in a beechcraft for a while....

Ascending we had a great view of Masterton town and the outlying fields.  The trip – as I write this- was quite bumpy with us flying into high level cloud up on our way to AKL.  I have reserved a room at the BK’s Pioneer Lodge for the night.  Only “3 minutes from the terminal”, relatively cheap and new.  I will work out how to get there upon arrival in AKL....

Footnote - Yep, pretty basic accomodation, but all that was needed.  The landing was a little hairy with the Cyclone Wilma still battering the north of the north island.  Seems to have calmed a little for my trip back to WLG via NPL

Moving goalposts...

So, today the Dominion Post (and earlier on the internet) I see that Air NZ have worked out an agreement with PPQ (Paraparaumu Airport) to start a Q300 operated service between Auckland and PPQ (which will be renamed Kapiti coast airport – presumably to make everyone familiar with where the airport is...?).  Darn! Just as I was nearing on completing my goal, Air NZ goes and moves the goalposts!  Oh well, I will have to add that one to the list.  Ticketing for the route has not yet commenced and the first flights are due in October.  Perhaps I could sort out the inaugural as way of ticking this one off.  The schedule looks to be very generous with plenty of flights on weekdays and about 3 return services on the weekend also.  I guess that they can see this route as viable – I am presuming that the main movement of traffic will be from Kapiti up to AKL and back, hence an early morning flight to AKL (0650?).
They are a few other frequent flyers looking at securing the inaugurals for this route, so perhaps we will have a mini-do....Watch this space.

Old Air NZ Airports - A Quick visit

Since starting out to visit every Air NZ operated airport in the country, I have as you know, made it to 24 / 26.
Whilst taking a fantastic Christmas holiday with the family in the south island, I also took in another three airports that Air New Zealand used to serve.  These were, Mount Cook (hence subsidiary Mount Cook Airlines), Oamaru and a little airport that Air NZ used to used just outside of Twizel (Pukaki Airport, TWZ)  when the weather for a mount cook airport landing was too bad – which presumably, was quite often!
Mount Cook is an awesome sight and we took a trip up there on Christmas Eve to have a look around the Sir Edmund Hillary centre, which is tacked onto the side of the historic Hermitage hotel up in Mount Cook village.  Unfortunately, despite beautiful weather in Twizel (where we were staying for a few days) we were unable to see the summit of Mount Cook as low cloud was blocking our view.
The airport is a little way down the down but equally several degrees cooler than the base of the mountain.
So I felt that despite not leaving nor arriving by plane from any of these three airports, I had made the effort to visit them.
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