Sounds Air Company Background - NZ Airline since 1987

Sounds Air have been operating for over 30 years and have vast experience flying in and around the Marlborough Sounds, Cook Strait, Wellington and Nelson.
Sounds Air was started by Cliff and Diane Marchant in 1987. They had a vision of providing low cost inter-island transport to provide locals and tourists with easy access to the Marlborough Sounds.

Since that time we have made over 175,000 crossings of Cook Strait to our own airport at Picton and also to Blenheim, Nelson, Westport, Napier and Paraparaumu. 

Most recently we have begun flying Blenheim to Christchurch, Blenheim to Napier, Wellington to Westport and Wellington to Taupo.

Sounds Air runs a fleet of five Cessna Caravan's and five Pilatus PC12's. These are single engine, turbine powered and are the perfect aircraft for our routes providing high levels of passenger safety and comfort as well as being very sturdy and extremely reliable aircraft to operate.

The company's founder and board members are :-

Cliff Marchant - Founder

Cliff retired from airline flying in 2017 after 43 years as a pilot with Air New Zealand. Aircraft types he captained during his career include Boeing 767, 747 and 777. He and wife Diane founded Sounds Air in 1987 and retain an active involvement in the airline.

John Stace - Board Chairman

John built a career in the financial services sector in the City of London. He was Deputy Chairman of Lloyd’s and served on the Council of Lloyd’s, Lloyd’s Market Board and Lloyd’s Regulatory Board. He has served on the Board of Genesis Energy, Edward Lumley Holdings, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and Equestrian Sports New Zealand.

Andrew Crawford - CEO & Director

Originally from a farming background, Andrew moved into large scale diesel generator installations and hire in the mid 1980’s. He spent five years in Sydney, then three years in London. Ten years in Auckland followed as General Manager of New Zealand’s largest generator hire company, Power Hire Ltd., prior to moving to Blenheim, to take on the role of Sounds Air’s Managing Director, in late 2003.

Steve Handyside - Director

Steve has worked in the construction industry for many years and was one of the founders of one of New Zealand’s leading crane hire and equipment hire companies, New Zealand Crane Hire Ltd. Steve now devotes his time to assisting with a number of companies he is involved with, two of these being Sounds Air and Takeflite Solutions. Steve has been a shareholder and Director of Sounds Air since 2003.

Rhyan Wardman - Director

Rhyan has had a twenty-five-year career in the wine industry, within New Zealand and abroad, with the last ten years holding Executive roles. He invested in Sounds Air in 2009, becoming a Director in 2013. Rhyan was a Wine Marlborough Director from 2014, concluding his tenure as Board Chairman in 2017. He has recently co-founded The Coterie and acquired the iconic Seresin Estate Winery in Marlborough.

Glenys Coughlan - Director

Glenys is a Director of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (responsible for Forsyth Barr Stadium), Chair of Outward Bound NZ and a Director of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development. 

Governance roles have included: Chair, Positively Wellington Tourism 2007-2011; Director, Tourism New Zealand 2007-2011; Director Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, 1998-2008.

To book a reservation or find out more about our services
call us on 0800 505 005

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