Air Napier looks set to take off as it comes under new ownership and new management.

CEO and new owner of Air Napier, Shah Aslam, said it was exciting to announce the new venture for the company.

He said the plan to take over the company had been in the pipeline for the past six months as former CEO and owner Gary Peacock sold up to retire.

"It had been a completely mutual decision between us and now he has fully step down from any role in the company having owned and operated it for the last 25 years."


Aslam has installed a new management team with some very experienced faces joining the fold.

Hawke's Bay born and bred local John Hamilton has come out of retirement to take up the role of operations manager.

"We moved back to Hawke's Bay after I retired to get away from the Wellington weather and to be honest I was getting bored and applied for the Air Napier job because I thought with my aviation experience I could contribute to the success of the company."

Hamilton's aviation experience has stemmed from a 35 year career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force after enlisting in 1971 and qualifying initially as a helicopter pilot before later becoming a flying instructor.

He held command and leadership appointments at all levels of the RNZAF culminating with a four year period from 2002-2006 as the chief of Air Force at the two star level in the rank of air vice-marshal.

Hamilton then spent eight years as the director of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Then following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake he was appointed by the Government to be the national controller in Christchurch and was responsible for the control and co-ordination of the national response to the crisis.

"We want to build a safe and trustworthy service that will help serve the Hawke's Bay and greater regions," Hamilton said.


Air Napier currently charges $299 per seat or $349 if you want to sit up front with the pilot.

Their planes seat between three to seven people, and they are hoping to expand the fleet to include planes with a slightly higher capacity, with nine or more seats which will bring the prices down and make flights more affordable.

Aslam said major airlines in New Zealand were not neglecting the region-to-region flights, but did not have appropriate aircraft to make them viable.

"If you look at Air New Zealand's fleet now, the smallest plane they have is probably a 55 seater.

"Filling a 55-seater plane three times a day on a daily basis, between a region to region is probably not the most economical way to go."

Hamilton said that trying to compete against those big airlines was a "recipe for disaster" and that they were looking to provide a service in the areas where there was value in the smaller regions.


As well as commercial flights, Air Napier continue to run chartered flights, medical transfers, scenic flights, aerial photography and surveying which Aslam says have been continuing to thrive.