A new cargo operator appears set to enter the trans-Tasman market, flying a B737-800(BCF) between New Zealand and Australia, with Bahrain-based Texel Air (XLR, Bahrain International) establishing a New Zealand subsidiary airline, Texel Air NZ (Auckland International).

Auckland-based Texel Air NZ's still-under-construction website says they have "invested in a world-class fleet matching it with local expertise to support its client's cargo and logistics goals across Australasia." Texel Air NZ told ch-aviation that they are on track to secure their New Zealand air operator's certificate in May with operations to commence in the same month. The carrier will launch with a single B737-800(BCF). That aircraft is presently registered as VP-BSM (msn 33013) and is ferrying this week to the STAECO facility at Jinan for conversion.

Texel Air operates one B737-300(F), two B737-700(FC)s, and two B737-800(BCF)s out of Bahrain. The interest in the trans-Tasman market is partly explained by the strong New Zealand connections at non-listed Chisolm Enterprises, parent company of Texel Air. Chisolm's founder, John Chisolm, who helped set up DHL International Aviation Middle East, has ties to New Zealand after living there. Another director of the company, Steve Wilks, is a New Zealand-qualified accountant and established international aviation professional with prior industry experience working for DHL Bahrain, Air Niugini, and Mandala Airlines.

In addition to belly-hold capacity in the many passenger aircraft flying the New Zealand - Australia country pair, ch-aviation capacities data shows four airlines presently offer scheduled freighter flights on the sector, including Tasman Cargo Airlines, Qantas Freight, and Singapore Airlines. In addition, numerous charter operators fly freighters on the country pair on an unscheduled basis.