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.
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]


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, because the town wanted the link to Auckland reinstated instead.[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 Christchurch and Blenheim on 21 November 2016 following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.[15] The Kaikoura to Christchurch flights ceased from 27 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]