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GCH Aviation Group expands tourism portfolio with purchase of Kaikoura Helicopters

08 May 2019


GCH Aviation is boosting its investment in tourism infrastructure by buying Kaikoura Helicopters.

GCH Aviation Group Chief Executive, Andrew Currie says the purchase expands the group’s scenic and commercial aviation services across New Zealand and the Pacific, establishing it as one of New Zealand’s major tourism aviation providers.

He says the company is going from strength to strength and has its sights firmly fixed on the premium tourism sector. “We are ensuring our clients are given the very best experience from the minute they arrive to when they get out to explore New Zealand. Our high-value international visitors can now fly directly into Christchurch and head into the regions knowing they will receive the same high level of service, safety and experience.”

“Kaikoura is world renowned for its whale watching and the region also boasts spectacular coastal and alpine scenery. Kaikoura Helicopters is the most experienced aerial whale watching company in the world and has one of only two helicopter concessions to fly over the whale sanctuary. We are delighted to add their expertise to our portfolio,” he says.

GCH Aviation is headquartered in Christchurch at a new $23 million base opened last year. With other bases in Nelson, Greymouth, Wellington, Vanuatu and Fiji, the company owns more than 30 aircraft and employs over 120 staff across its helicopter and fixed wing aircraft services which as well as tourism flights, also includes certified flight training, air rescue and ambulance operations.

The group’s 9,000 sqm Christchurch facility has direct access to the Christchurch Airport runway, and dedicated helipads. It includes Christchurch’s first full-service jet centre for the South Island’s rapidly growing corporate aviation market, with hangar parking and overnight facilities for jets, a private terminal, ground handling, catering, plus Ministry of Primary Industry and Customs services.

Established in 1983, GCH Aviation is the only company to hold the prestigious Helicopter Association of New Zealand Diamond Safety Award for 30+ years continuous service without injury accident to self, passengers or crew. It also holds a 100% Pure New Zealand Qualmark Gold endorsement.



New Facility in Christchurch Commences Operations

18 October 2017

We are delighted to be commencing operations from our new facility at 73 Grays Road - Australasia’s largest multi-purpose aviation facility at Christchurch Airport.

Our new $23 million headquarters is home to the South Island’s sole fully integrated, single-purpose emergency medical service (EMS) air ambulance facility, and is a regional base for emergency transport of patients around New Zealand. As well as state-of-the-art patient care facilities, the centre has its own engineering / maintenance team operating around the clock.

Our centre also gives Canterbury its first full-service corporate Jet facility, a new gateway for private jets, purpose-built to service the South Island’s rapidly growing corporate aviation market.

We look forward to continuing to deliver our exceptional products and service to our local Cantabrian customers and to highlight our amazing region to national and international travellers.

We also announce our achievements this year of receiving The New Zealand Helicopters Association Diamond Safety award for 33+ years of incident and accident free operations. We are the only helicopter company in New Zealand to proudly hold this prestigious award. We recently undertook the New Zealand tourism Qualmark assessment achieving a Qualmark Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award, affirming we are a quality travel experience.

We are also pleased to announce a new addition to our fleet in Christchurch, the new EC130 luxury helicopter which will begin operations this week.


Garden City Helicopters Ltd Purchase Coastwide Helicopter Services

March 21 2017


Garden City Helicopters Ltd, who are the service provider for the NZ Coal and Carbon Rescue Helicopter Service based in Greymouth and the NZ Flying Doctor Service fixed wing service serving the West Coast community with their Patient Transfer Service taking patients from West Coast DHB sites, have confirmed they are the successful purchaser of Coastwide Helicopter Services from the previous ownership of Mt Hutt Helicopters Ltd.

The transfer of ownership took place on the 16th February, according to Group General Manager, Mr Simon Duncan.

Garden City Helicopters Ltd have been providing the rescue helicopter and Fixed Wing patient transfers through the NZ Flying Doctor Service on the West Coast for 20 years, which the company along with the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust will celebrate on the 26th April this year.

Adding commercial helicopter services to our range of services for the West Coast became a ‘natural progression’ for the company, who recently employed former Coastwide base manager, Stuart Gorrie adding him to the rescue helicopter service with his strong association and knowledge of the local area, together with Angus Taylor, Garden City’s Greymouth base manager.

Our company commercial manager Mr Dion Edgar has also worked with many clients on the West Coast both for GCH and his former employer.

“This will provide these three pilots, (plus potentially another pilot) with variety in their work, and give the commercial clients on the West Coast the opportunity to work alongside a very experienced locally based team” Mr Duncan said.

The Coastwide brand is synonymous with West Coast Helicopter operations and we acknowledge the strength of this brand started off by Chris Cowan, the founder of Coastwide.

Garden City Helicopters plans to base a second AS350 (squirrel) at Coastwide for commercial work, and to provide the company with an onsite back-up rescue helicopter availability, as the helicopter concerned also meets the requirements of the Emergency Medical Service Standards.

Simon Duncan
Ph 03 358 4360


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