Started in 1992, Glenorchy Air was founded by Robert and Janet Rutherford. At the time, the stunning road from Queenstown to Glenorchy was unsealed, making it not as accessible as it is today. They saw an opportunity to begin an operation there and once the road was sealed six years later, focus shifted to our base at Queenstown Airport, which we still occupy today. Glenorchy Air has been operated as a true Family business from day one, with the entire Rutherford family being involved in the business through the years.
We've evolved over our 27 years of operation. We've grown from a single aircraft in 1992 to a fleet size of 5 in 2017. Glenorchy Air was the first Queenstown-based company to operate the GA8 Airvan in 2003 and use of this aircraft is now widespread for sightseeing tours in New Zealand and abroad. In 1999, when filming for Lord of the Rings started, Glenorchy Air flew production crew and actors, memorably Sir Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen, around the region as well as transporting film and carrying out location reconnaissance. In more recent times, we have expanded our Mt. Cook products and have announced the arrival of a new Cessna 206HD in December 2019. We have never forgotten where we started in Glenorchy, and to this day we offer all of our products from this stunning town at the top of Lake Wakatipu.
In July 2019, James Stokes took to the helm at Glenorchy Air. James is a Queenstown local who is incredibly passionate about aviation and our beautiful region. He has flown for Glenorchy Air since 2015 and before purchasing the business, was the company's Training Captain and Flight Examiner. James is a CAA certificated Airline Flight Examiner with years of mountain flying experience and has a strong background in flight instruction of both private and commercial pilots, all gained in the local area. It is a dream come true for James to own and operate his own scenic flight business in Queenstown.
All of Glenorchy Air's pilots are trained and assessed to the highest standards of competence and safety by James and our other highly experienced operational instructors, who have thousands of hours in the mountains of Central Otago and Fiordland. Our Pilots and Ground staff are all highly skilled and experienced locals with an excellent standard of customer service. We love where we live and where we work. We will always go the extra mile for our customers.
We can't wait to take you on a flight.