Some of the Perth regulars
Traffic at Perth tends to be fairly predictable and so is characterised by the regular daily visitors coming in from various countries in our region. That doesn’t mean it’s boring though, and the frequent sunny days, even in winter, allow for some great photo opportunities. Have a look below for some of our regular visitors!
Qantas 737-800 VH-VXI ‘Oodnadatta’ on short finals for runway 21 on an evening where there had been some heavy showers making the sky very interesting. As you’d expect, Qantas 737-800’s are frequent visitors to Perth and are used on routes such as Perth to Brisbane, Broome, Kalgoorlie, Darwin and Adelaide.
Air New Zealand operates a daily service to Auckland using Boeing 767-300’s, all of which are now fitted with winglets. This photo was taken as ZK-NCN starts its take-off roll down runway 21 in the fading evening light of January 15, 2006.
Thai Airways is one of a number of airlines operating the Airbus A330 into Perth, having previously operated the A300 for a number of years. This particular aircraft, HS-TEP, was almost new when photographed on October 18, 2009. For those with an eye to detail, you may have noticed that Thai has changed the paint used for the purple part of their livery – it used to look metallic but now it’s a ‘flat’ colour. From comparing fotos of aircraft with the metallic finish, they possibly changed it due to the uneven finish it seemed to give, which is a pity because it used to look richer than the current variation.
Another A330 operator into Perth is Singapore Airlines, with 9V-STG seen here coming in to land on May 25, 2010. Singapore Airlines have operated a number of aircraft types into Perth in the time that I have lived here, including the Airbus A310, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777-200 and -300, as well as the Airbus A340. Singapore also operate ad-hoc cargo flights into Perth using 747’s.
The final demise of Ansett in 2002 enabled Virgin Blue to establish itself as a major competitor to Qantas, and today the airline operates around 70 Boeing 737-700’s and 800’s. In the last few years, Virgin Blue has substantially expanded its presence at Perth and now flies regional routes to Broome, Karratha, Port Hedland and Newman. Services from Perth also connect Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.
In August 2010 Virgin Blue announced that it would be introducing its first domestic widebody services with the Airbus A330. Initial services will link Perth and Sydney – bring it on!
Partly as a response to Virgin Blue, Qantas established its own low-cost operation, Jetstar, in early 2004. The airline initially only operated on the east coast but in 2007 commenced services to Perth and today links to Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Singapore, Denpasar/Bali and Jakarta, with services to Brisbane and Gold Coast commencing in December 2010 and April 2011 respectively.
Jetstar operates Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft to Perth, and here A320 VH-VQI comes in low over Helena Valley Road on approach for runway 24 on 1st October, 2007.
Another common sight at Perth is the Boeing 717. Qantas Link operates a number of these aircraft on regional routes, such as Port Hedland and Newman, and here VH-NXI taxis out for another service from runway 21. This aircraft was originally delivered to Impulse Airlines as VH-IMP in 2000 and, following its acquisition by Qantas in 2001, was transferred to Qantas Link, where it operated until being transferred to Jetstar in 2004. The 717’s were a temporary solution until Jetstar’s own Airbus A320’s arrived, and -IMP was then transferred back to Qantas Link in 2006, at which point it was re-registered VH-NXI.
Royal Brunei Airlines link Perth to Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, although passenger numbers between Perth and Brunei seem to have been in decline for a while, something I suspect has to do with the success of Emirates. Brunei used to be a popular and cheap alternative to getting to Europe, however, the convenience of going via Dubai seems to have lured people away from Brunei, which used to involve stops in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. As a result, Airbus A320’s and even A319’s are often used on Perth services and the 767’s are being returned to the lessors. That said, it was recently announced that Royal Brunei would start Boeing 777-200 services to Perth commencing on 30 November 2010. Given that the 767’s have such low load factors though, it seems a bit unlikely – we’ll see . . .
Talking of Emirates, here is one of their Boeing 777-300’s, A6-EBB, arriving on their late afternoon service from Dubai in March 2008. As mentioned above, Emirates has been very successful at Perth and their afternoon service is often completely full. They also have a service that arrives at 00.55 each morning. Flying Emirates to Europe has the benefit of breaking the trip up quite nicely, with around 10 1/2 hours to Dubai and then around 7 to London. That compares with around 5 hours to Singapore and then around 12 3/4 hours to London non-stop – that’s a long flight . . .
As well as having quite a few 717 operations, Perth is also a bit of a Mecca for the Fokker 100. Skywest was originally part of the Ansett group of airlines but was able to split off following its demise. Since then, Skywest has gone from strength to strength and now operates an extensive network within Western Australia operating the Fokker 100 jet and Fokker 50 turboprop. As well as Skywest, Network Aviation and Alliance AIrlines also have Fokker 100’s based at Perth.
Western Australia is a major mining region and a significant number of weekday operations support the mining industry. Network Aviation operates various mining charters with Embraer Brasilias and Fokker 100’s, and here VH-NHZ shows the companies striking livery. My only complaint is that the Fokker 100’s have a white fuselage rather than the polished metal finish shown here on the Brasilia – I think a polished metal jet, along the lines of American Airlines, would look pretty spectacular in the Perth sun!
South African Airways has operated into Perth for many years and now operates a mix of A340-600’s and -300’s on their services from Johannesburg. Here ZS-SNE, a model 600, comes in low over South Guildford on finals for 21 on February 7, 2009. With an overall length of 75.3 metres, the A340-600 is actually longer than both the 747 (70.6 m) and the Airbus A380 double-decker (72.7 m), making it the longest airliner currently in operation.
A fairly recent newcomer to Perth is Air Asia Indonesia, part of the AirAsia Group based in Malaysia. Commencing operations in 2009, Air Asia now operates three daily rotations to Bali/Denpasar using Airbus A320’s bought new. I recently sampled their service to Bali and was very impressed. The seats were comfortable and all leather, the on-board service was very friendly, and the flights were punctual – what more could you ask for from a low cost carrier?
Malaysian Airlines is another airline that has long offered services to Perth. Flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian currently operates two flights per day with Boeing 777-200’s and Airbus A330’s. The afternoon MH125 service has a scheduled arrival time of 3.00pm, making it ideal for a bit of spotting in the afternoon sun. 9M-MRC is seen here with some nice high cloud moments before touchdown on December 14, 2009.