For Mike Toogood there is no place he would rather be working from and when you look out at the view from his office you can see why.
“Every day is different. The Airport is Hawke’s Bay’s link with New Zealand and the world - the constant activity is upbeat and positive with travellers arriving, departing and returning.
“The atmosphere rubs off on us, and the business community that’s developing here. It’s certainly an exciting time, offering a fantastic opportunity with a huge future… everyone who works at the Airport is feeling it.”
Mike is the Managing Director of Skyline Aviation - providing charter, aero medical and commercial aviation services across the country.
Two decades ago he turned his passion for aviation to building one of Hawke’s Bay’s most important services where every day, Skyline Pilots, hospital teams and St John paramedics are either helping save lives or flying patients to and from specialist medical treatment and care throughout New Zealand.
Today, Skyline Aviation has earned a reputation that is synonymous with the national health and aviation sectors for providing world class rescue and air ambulance services. In 2008 Mike received the Queen’s Service Medal for his work in developing the Hawke’s Bay Rescue Helicopter Service.
Skyline Aviation relocated from offices in Hastings to Hawke’s Bay Airport where the construction of a 1,400 square metre purpose-built headquarters now houses a staff compliment of 12, the company’s fleet of turbo-prop aircraft and turbine helicopters along with specialist aeromedical equipment. The purpose built facilities are perfect for looking after the community’s patients and families.
The decision to relocate was operationally driven as Skyline needed to house bigger aircraft which require a longer runway along with all the sophisticated navigational aids that come with being based at a busy regional airport. The facility for loading patients under cover and catering for families supporting their loved ones is of huge benefit.
The move also created an opportunity for a greater profile – where, almost overnight, the new location transformed the company’s brand well beyond expectation.
“Being by the busy state highway and in front of the 750,000 passengers and visitors who use the Airport over the year, we’ve gained a huge profile. People know who we are and what we do. We bring prospective clients here, where we can now truly showcase our business.”
The new location has also helped to raise greater awareness about the fixed-wing Air Ambulance – an essential community service, transporting over 2,000 (adult and child) patients each year for often lifesaving specialist care - a service which often ‘flies under the radar’, says Mike.
Daughter Annabel is the director of Skyline’s commercial and charter side of the Napier based business which is certainly benefiting from its new home.
“General aviation has experienced slow growth which is reflective of the regional and national economy, but we are starting to see positive signs and are looking at new ventures.
Other interesting plans in the pipeline include the potential of a private jet service from Auckland and Hawke’s Bay which will enable us to operate to Pacific Island and Australian destinations non-stop for both charter and aeromedical services,” says Annabel.
“The Airport is a great place to work. When I see what it has done for our business, I can see real opportunity for any business that locates here – aviation or otherwise, where you can transform your business and work in one of the most desirable locations in New Zealand.”