The Air Milford Story.
Air Milford is proud to be a 100% New Zealand family owned and operated business. We are the only flightseeing company in NZ to have had three generations of pilots in the family, two generations of aircraft engineers as well as husband and wife directors all actively working in the business. This translates into a consummate safety standard recognised as one of the best in the business.
The Air Milford Story
There are two facets to Air Milford’s history, the first officially commenced in 1993 with the listing of Dave Bunn Aviation. This was the inception of Air Milford as we know it today. Bunn, a local farmer and family of 5, at the tender age of 57 years old, registered the company. He purchased the venerable Cessna 206 for the operation, registered Delta Whiskey X-ray (DWX).
In 1998, to continue forward into the new Millennium, Dave enlisted the services of Hank Sproull, with his Cessna 185. Together, they commenced trading as Air Milford, owner operators, offering a personalised service with the two aircraft, DWX and Echo November Whiskey (ENW).
Dave and Hank worked together and expanded the operation from a contract provider to the larger operators, to a company which specialised in remote destinations inaccessible to the competition. By 1999 both pilots had over 10 years experience flying within Fiordland and the southern regions of New Zealand. Hank was president of the New Zealand branch of the Cessna 180/185 Club and also an ex Mount Cook aircraft engineer of some 27 years. This gave Dave and Hank the experience to maintain their aircraft in-house to the highest possible standards and take great pride in doing so (to this day it remains a competitive advantage). In the year 2000, Hank, along with his wife Kerrie, purchased Air Milford outright from Dave Bunn, hence the current company trading name Air Milford 2000 Ltd. The next major milestone for the company was the purchase of Cessna Caravan ZK-SKB, the first type brought to Queenstown and a significant leap in capital outlay at NZ$1,250,000.00.
Fast forward 20 years, the purchase of 3 additional Cessna Caravans including the first ever brand new into New Zealand. The future of the company has been bolstered with the addition of Hank’s son into the business as Chief Pilot/Operations Manager. All things combined, you have a small airline operation that can cater to 50 passengers in one movement, without losing sight of the original mission: to provide unparalleled customer service to unique destinations.
The focus of Air Milford is to provide a quality-based Air Charter & Flightseeing Company. Our emphasis on passenger safety and comfort is established by having the most experienced local pilots, flying modern aircraft maintained to the highest standard.
To maintain the standard as the premier scenic flight operator in Queenstown.
Unique Selling Points
At Air Milford we understand the importance of trust – to deliver a product that exceeds the customer expectation, every time. These are the key considerations that would lead to your choice in Air Milford, over the competition.
- 100% Safety Record and the only fixed wing company in Queenstown to maintain aircraft in-house.
- Achieved one of the Civil Aviation Authority’s highest audit ratings for operations and safety, and gold standard certified by Qualmark.
- Largest fleet of turboprop Cessna Caravan aircraft in the South Island of New Zealand, with executive seating as an option.
- Fleet are all high-wing, providing uninterrupted views.
- Only company to offer a Milford Sound “Wet Weather” backup alternate to reduce flight cancellations. We pride ourselves on having fewer cancellations than our competitors through our unparalleled experience and modern equipment.
- Family owned and operated business since 2000. Most sustainable flightseeing operation in Queenstown.
We keep our feet on the ground
Air Milford started with a point of difference of personalised flightseeing tours, and some 22 years and five aircraft later the original vision still exists. So too have we ensured our operation is run to the right scale. It’s always been important to the owners and the team to be humble in the opportunity as aerial guardians of New Zealand. We are a Christian family with values that instil tradition and confidence in our staff.
We do what comes naturally
Our commitment to sustainability initiatives affects our everyday work, from simple waste minimisation and recycling efforts to a larger goal of becoming New Zealand’s most sustainable general aviation airline. We are proud to have the lowest carbon emission footprint of any scenic flight company in Queenstown and are actively working with charities such as the Whakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group (WCG) to help the planet.
We’re proud of our work
We place a huge importance on pride in our work. When no two days are ever quite the same, it’s easy to stay motivated and focused on each and every task. When we have such a great responsibility to our passengers, this pride is vital to their safety and our continued success.
We love our work
Every Air Milford team member simply loves coming to work. A big reason for this is that the view never gets boring. Now, when we say ‘view’, we mean both the scenery on the trip and the look on our passengers’ faces when they’re walking away after the trip. It’s this sight that is the culmination of our efforts – and we work tirelessly to ensure that this look is one of sheer joy.