Captain John Evan, of Blenheim (left), still active, and
co-pilot Allen Pruden, who died three months ago in Blenheim,
are photographed beside a Douglas DC3 in the early years of
Mount Cook Airline in Queenstown.
DC3 airliner ZK-BKD, commanded by Captain Geoffrey Williams
and co-pilot Alistair McLeod, made the first scheduled flight
into Queenstown on February 3, 1964 and departed the next day
with fare-paying passengers.
Plans to commemorate the pivotal episode in Wakatipu's
fortunes and 50 years of continuous ZQN service by Mount Cook
Airline are set for February next year.
''These were great pioneering days and the airline was
largely responsible for bringing Queenstown into the modern
tourism era that we see today,'' Queenstown aviator and
commemoration co-ordinator Jules Tapper said.
''The airline and their parent company, the Mount Cook Group,
were the main catalyst responsible for making this town the
four-season destination that it now is. I was proud to have
been a part of it.''
The airline, now owned by Air New Zealand, and the Queenstown
Airport Corporation are supporting a short ceremony for the
unveiling of a commemorative plaque on a boulder near the
entrance of the airport terminal, followed by a cocktail
party for invited guests on February 14.
Mr Tapper is calling on former staff members of the airline
to reunite for a private dinner at Skyline on the following