INFLITE, one of New Zealand’s leading aviation tourism companies with bases across New Zealand have today announced the purchase of Skydive Franz Josef Glacier, the country’s only skydive operator to offer the thrilling 19,000ft skydive.
Flying from the popular West Coast town of Franz Josef, jumpers are able to freefall from 19,000ft above the Westland & Aoraki/Mt Cook National Parks’ which form part of the Te Wāhipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
The Skydive Franz operation adds a dedicated team of Skydive staff to the INFLITE team and Pilatus PC-6 Porter to the fleet of ski planes and helicopters currently operated across INFLITE’s base network. The Pilatus Porter joins its 2 sister ships which are currently operated from their Aoraki / Mt Cook base – just a 20 minute flight away.
INFLITE is not planning any changes to the team or brand as part of the purchase but Skydive Franz will gain the benefit of the additional sales, marketing and operational support. In further support the owners, James Meldrum and Craig Clark will be staying on with the business in their current roles.
INFLITE CEO, Adam Joyce is excited to welcome the staff and business into the INFLITE family.
“This is a very exciting development for us which further expands our product offering in New Zealand and cements our commitment within the tourism industry, particularly in the South Island. The Skydive Franz business is a great fit for us and we are excited to add this product to our amazing suite of unique experiences.”
This West Coast is the fastest growing tourism region in New Zealand with total tourism spend was up 12% up for the year to January 2018, which is 5% higher than the growth reported across the whole of the country.
INFLITE South Island Business Manager Lisa Chambers says the acquisition paves the way for linking two very significant natural attractions. “We are too very excited to welcome this excellent business into the INFLITE family. It opens up so much opportunity both on the West Coast and here in Aoraki Mt. Cook. We will have the ability to share resources as well as knowledge and expertise from both sides of the divide. It will add another unique concept and product to our portfolio which will both support and help grow our businesses and the teams that work within them.”
INFLITE’s focus has been around developing its sustainability program over the past 12 months and are excited to incorporate the Skydive Franz long standing relationship with the Kea Conservation Trust into the program. The added hours that Skydive Franz fly will be good news for the number of trees INFLITE plant with Motutapu Restoration Trust on Motutapu Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. Already this year, close to 1000 trees have been planted on this pest-free island by INFLITE. INFLITE was also proud to receive the Qualmark Gold award from Tourism New Zealand with this programme being one of the key contributors.
Says Joyce, “Our aircraft generate carbon emissions, so it was imperative that we did something about it. We’re committed to reducing our impact on the environment and making our business and those we partner with, more sustainable. Part of this commitment, which alongside joining the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Tourism Sustainability Commitment involves us partnering with the trust to plant a tree for every hour we fly.”
“Additionally, we have given our customers the option to extend this commitment by purchasing their own tree when they book an experience with us. We’re seeing a very generous number of our customers include this option and will extend the offering to Skydive Franz experiences before the end of the season.”