It is with great sadness that Nick Mair, CEO of Salus Aviation confirmed the final closure of Oceania Aviation’s three South Island maintenance sites on Friday, 19th June. The three sites operated in Nelson, Dunedin and Queenstown and primarily serviced the South Island aviation community’s maintenance needs. Whilst Oceania Aviation and the wider Salus group remain committed to supporting customers throughout New Zealand, the business was forced to make some difficult but necessary changes due to the challenges of COVID-19. These changes serve to consolidate Oceania’s regional footprint to the North Island, although the customer base will by no means be confined to this region. The consolidation will allow Oceania to align with regional industry partners to support the maintenance needs within the Southern regions, whilst still offering component repair and overhaul, parts sales and deep maintenance support for all NZ and international customers via the Hamilton, Ardmore and North Shore facilities.
Originally founded in 1998 as Helicare Maintenance Limited, the Nelson facility provided dedicated support to Helicopter operators within the upper South Island and Wellington region. From its inception, Helicare built up a loyal customer base and continued to deliver on its vision, leading to its acquisition by OAL in August 2017. OAL rebranded the hangar under the Oceania banner but continued to employ its legacy staff to allow the same support that its customers had enjoyed for almost 20 years.
From its origins as Rex Aviation in 1966, the Dunedin hangar spent a number of years under the Flightline Aviation banner before Oceania acquired Flightline in April 2013 and took over the facility and all its operations. The facility enjoyed an excellent reputation for high quality and second-to-none customer service, proven by a long-standing and loyal customer base. The hangar has housed a wide range of specialties and capabilities, including maintenance, fixed wing rebuilds, engine and propeller overhaul and aircraft/parts sales.
The Queenstown base, which operated out of the Heliworks-owned hangar, took over the maintenance function from Heliworks almost a decade ago. The small but focused Queenstown team exclusively serviced the fleets owned by Southern Lakes Helicopters and Heliworks who support tourism and essential service operations for the Central Otago region.
The closure of the South Island maintenance bases marks a significant time within Oceania Aviation’s history. The Salus Aviation group will continue to look at opportunities across and beyond all of its businesses to create efficiencies and facilitate sustainable growth as they recover from the effects of COVID-19, with the ultimate goal to meet and exceed current and future customer needs.