Specialists in research and writing about early New Zealand airlines.

The Story of Air Central

Author: Bruce Gavin

The period from the 1970s to the 1990s was a golden era for the development of privately owned third level airlines in New Zealand. As the government owned airline NAC (New Zealand National Airways Corporation) withdrew from uneconomic provincial routes a number of entrepreneurs, companies, aero clubs and flying schools seized the opportunity to form their own airline to fill the gaps. Few were successful for more than a brief period, but one which did flourish was AIR CENTRAL, an airline which through subsequent mergers and takeovers can trace its lineage directly through to the modern globe circling Air New Zealand of today.

HEARTLAND HIGH FLIER is an in depth look at a fascinating small airline which spanned the central North Island with fast frequent all-weather scheduled air services during the 1970s and 80s. The book traces the full story of the airline from its very humble beginnings as a small flying school using a borrowed two seat aircraft. The book is based on a considerable amount of original research supplemented by the recollections of over 60 people who were intimately involved in the growth and operation of the airline. The airline had to battle a chronic shortage of finance, rampant inflation, and restrictive licensing regulations yet once people became involved they joined a loyal,
hardworking and versatile team that won the respect of a travelling public sceptical of the reliability of airlines operating small aircraft. They proved that 'Real Kiwis' can fly.

HEARTLAND HIGH FLIER is of A4 size and comprises of 112 pages (including a 4 page colour section) all enclosed in an attractive soft cover. The book contains over 150 photographs, maps and illustrations, most previously unpublished. As well there is a full index and appendices which contain a comprehensive listing of former staff and directors, and the aircraft the company used. As well as being a record of a unique airline and its people the book fills a gap in recording New Zealand's (and in particular the central North Island's) aviation and more general social history.

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