Peter Jackson bringing private jet back

PLANE SAILING: Film-maker Peter Jackson will be bringing his Gulfstream G550 private jet back to Wellington Airport after having to park it in Melbourne.
PLANE SAILING: Film-maker Peter Jackson will be bringing his Gulfstream G550 private jet back to Wellington Airport after having to park it in Melbourne.

Film director Sir Peter Jackson looks set to return his new private jet to Wellington with the aircraft's management company obtaining a New Zealand air operator's certificate and the city's airport preparing to clear a spot for it.

Jackson took delivery of the top-of-the-line Gulfstream G550 in May but has been forced to park the $68 million jet in Melbourne due to a lack of suitable hangar space at Wellington International Airport.

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said the air operator certificate was for the only New Zealand-registered G550.

Jackson's jet is managed by ExecuJet Aviation Australasia. Managing director Darren McGoldrick said the certificate paved the way for the company to base aircraft operations in New Zealand using a privately owned G550, which was also available for charter.

Three crew and an engineer were based in Wellington to staff the G550, and that number was expected to grow. "This region is an especially buoyant one with a high proportion of ultra-high net worth individuals who recognise the time-saving benefits and ease of aircraft charter," he said.

ExecuJet does not disclose its charter rates, but a United States online private jet broker prices similar aircraft at up to $11,600 an hour. A G550 typically seats 12 to 16 passengers and is capable of flying nonstop from Wellington to Los Angeles.

Wellington International Airport was planning to build a new multi-use hangar that could provide overnight maintenance and parking for private and airline jets.

The new hangar and office facilities would be built on land occupied by Wellington Aero Club's hangar on the Kilbirnie side of the airport. The club has sold the building to the airport company, with demolition expected to start soon.

The Dominion Post