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Welcome to GCH Aviation


GCH Aviation is an umbrella brand representing our parent company Garden City Helicopters, based in Christchurch, New Zealand and a large number of associated aviation operations extending through New Zealand and into the South Pacific.


These operations include Garden City Helicopters Christchurch, Garden City Helicopters Nelson and Garden City Helicopters Greymouth, Wellington Helicopters*,  Pacific Island Air Fiji and Vanuatu Helicopters. The Group also represents emergency air rescue and air ambulance operations: Westpac Rescue Helicopter, NZCC Rescue Helicopter, Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter and the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service  plus GCH Aviation Jet Centre and GCH UAV drone division.


Together, GCH Aviation represents over three decades of exceptional aviation experience in helicopter and fixed-wing tourism, certified flight training, commercial, air rescue and ambulance operations.


*Wellington Helicopters and all Garden City Helicopters brands operate under GCH Aviation Part 135 Operation Specification.

GCH Aviation facilities and headquarters at Christchurch International Airport



Introduction to our Operation

Garden City Helicopters was established in New Zealand by John Currie in 1983 at New Brighton Beach, East of Christchurch City. The main functions of the company at that time were as a coastal helicopter rescue service and operator of scenic flights around Banks Peninsula and Christchurch city. The expansion of tourism opportunities in Christchurch increased the demand for scenic flights and the formalisation of a dedicated and expanded air rescue operation resulted in a relocation to expanded base facilities adjacent to Christchurch International Airport.

Today, Garden City Helicopters is widely respected as one of New Zealand's premier helicopter operators, servicing all aspects of tourism and charter flights, air ambulance and rescue operations and commercial flying services as well as further expansion into fixed-wing aircraft charter operations.


As we continue to expand our operation within New Zealand as well as regions of the South Pacific, Garden City Helicopters have introduced a group brand - GCH Aviation - in order to present a professional, cohesive and quality focused service to our customers. 


Commercial Helicopter Operations

GCH Aviation is a leader in the provision of  a wide range of safe, effective and cost efficient commercial applications using helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft services.


Scenic Flights

Our current areas of operation include tourist flights, adventure trips  and charters catering for both local and international markets.


Flight Training

GCH Aviation is a fully approved helicopter training provider under CAA rules Part 141. The company offers certified helicopter flight training and ground school training plus specialised helicopter training procedures. Our instructors are rated as some of the best in the country. We cater for both local and international students and proudly offer certified flight training to the highest standards.

GCH Aviation is also approved for carrying out the annual pilot check for other companies, completing in excess of 200 checks annually.


Specialist Training

Our extensive experience has also allowed us to become an approved provider of specialist helicopter training - including HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training), Winch Operations, Human Sling Training and Night Vision Equipment Operations.


Air Rescue and Air Ambulance Operations

For a number of years GCH Aviation has been providing a dedicated air rescue operation in the South Island of New Zealand through the formation of The Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust, and in conjunction with St John. This partnership is sponsored by Westpac Banking Corporation in Canterbury, on the West Coast by New Zealand Coal and Carbon Ltd.

In September 1996 GCH Aviation expanded it's Air Ambulance/ Rescue Helicopter operation by establishing a dedicated service at Nelson to cover the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough region administered by the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust.

GCH Aviation also maintains and operates the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service - a nationwide fixed-wing medical transfer service operating from Christchurch and Nelson airports.



Safety is the paramount consideration for all our operations. Since our establishment as commercial, EMS and tourist operators, GCH Aviation has had an enviable safety record. GCH Aviation is an approved CAA check and training organisation. It is approved to carry out CAA 135.607 checks for many of the helicopter operators in the South Island.

The vast experience of the pilots, regular training, familiarity of equipment and extensive and continual exposure to the extreme terrain covered by our network, ensure that our safety record is maintained. This is complemented with in-house aircraft maintenance and quality assurance programmes.


 Mission Statement

GCH Aviation aims to provide a professional service tailored to meet the wants and needs of our individual clients.

Operating with very experienced pilots we wish to maintain our excellent flight safety record and pass on our high standards to trainee pilots who graduate from our program.

We wish to remain progressive and innovative to keep pace with a changing external environment, and introduce diversification within the realms of our core operations.

Our organisation is a high profile company and we wish to maintain our image and credibility built up over the last 30 years.





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