Sounds Air

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Sounds Air
Sounds Air Logo.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1986
Hubs Wellington International Airport
Fleet size 10
Destinations 10
Headquarters Picton, New Zealand
Key people Cliff Marchant (Director/Owner), Andrew Crawford (Managing Director/Owner), Steve Handyside (Director/Owner)
Website Sounds Air
A Sounds Air Cessna Caravan at Wellington International Airport in 2009
Sounds Air Grand Caravan landing at Picton in 2006.
Sounds Air Grand Caravan at Christchurch International Airport in 2014

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 Omaka Airfield, Blenheim 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]


Sounds Air operates scheduled flights between Wellington and Picton, Nelson, Blenheim, Taupo and Westport.[6][7] Scheduled flights are also available between Blenheim and Christchurch[8] , Napier[9] and Paraparaumu. Nelson also has flights to Paraparaumu.[10] Sounds Air formerly served Kaikoura and Wanganui[11] from Wellington and Kapiti Coast from Picton.[12] A service to Masterton was being considered from Wellington, however no such service eventuated.[13] In addition to scheduled flights Sounds Air offers scenic flights over the Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman National Park.[14] The airline started temporary services to Kaikoura from both Christchurch and Blenheim on the 21st November 2016 as a result of the Kaikoura Earthquake.[15] The Kaikoura to Christchurch flights were cancelled from the 27th of January 2017.[16]


As of November 2016 Sounds Air operates the following aircraft:[17]

Sounds Air Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
Cessna 208 Caravan
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
Pilatus PC-12
Total 10

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 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.[18]
  • 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.[19]


  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. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Lewis, Oliver. "Charting its own course: Marlborough airline Sounds Air is flying high in the cut-throat world of aviation". Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Sounds Air to replace Air NZ on Christchurch to Blenheim route". Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Timetables". Sounds Air. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  11. ^ "Airline cans Wellington service". Wanganui Chronicle. 2 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Sounds Air starts special flights to quake-hit Kaikoura". Newshub. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Fleet". Sounds Air. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  18. ^ "Aviation Reports". TAIC. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "Aviation Reports". Aviation Reports. TAIC. Retrieved 26 Feb 2013. 

External links[edit]