Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mackay Airport Terminal Refurbishment is Looking Good and is Nearly Complete!

After taking a recent flight through we found that the $3.5 million terminal refurbishment at Mackay Airport is looking good and is nearly complete!

The check-in area has remained largely unchanged, although it now features new Jetstar check-in kiosks and Qantas (QantasLink) Next-Gen check-in kiosks, as shown below.

The relocation of the passenger and visitor Security Screening Point was a major milestone, with it now front and centre of the terminal. Mackay Airport management has encouraged all airport visitors to "come and access the exciting newly refurbished area beyond".

And speaking of this area, the new central concourse has become part of a much larger departure lounge that features new food and beverage outlets, a bar, and a newsagency. Some pictures below...

The popular outdoor observation area is still under contruction and when it is finished, it will not only continue to provide an opportunity to wave off family members, but will also provide a licensed shady outdoor eating area.

Frequent visitors to the airport will also find it hard to miss the repainted model biplane on display in the terminal. The bold, colourful, wooden plane that hangs from the terminal ceiling is quite a sight, and has received a new look with a coat of bright air force training yellow paint

A Mackay Airport spokesperson said the model biplane, which graced the ceiling in the terminal, was a familiar sight to many airport visitors and its new coat of paint made it even more striking. "We talked with the Mackay Tiger Moth Museum and their crew were very happy to refresh the model with a coat or two of bright air force training yellow paint, the same also seen on the life-size Tiger Moth biplane, known as the City of Mackay, which is a familiar sight in the skies of Mackay."

The model actually originated from the Brisbane Expo back in 1988 and has been part of the airport ever since. Along with the community-owned Tiger Moth, they are both part of Mackay's history.

When the terminal refurbishment is finished, travellers will also be able to enjoy a larger waiting area. As shown, the gate area is still being worked on, with the popular upstairs waiting closed for the time being whilst the refurbishment takes place. Eventually, there will be a total of 700 seats in the departure lounge.

Lastly, arriving passengers - who still have to pass through the new terminal area - will find a new car rental facility in the terminal. The rental car desks have been expanded and modernised. The baggage collection area is unchanged.

RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornett ANZAC Day Rockhampton Fly-over and other Movements at CQ Airports - MORE PICTURES!!

Monday 25 April - ANZAC Day 2011 - and noted at Rockhampton's commemoration ceremony was an overfly of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet Fighter. It was one of three that flew from RAAF Base Amberley where the Nos 1 and 6 Squadrons are based.

Ben O was on hand to take a few pictures - unfortunately the aircraft's serial number could not be noted...

Also noted today, but this time at Gladstone Airport was Strategic Airlines' Airbus A320 VH-YQC making what is believed to be its first visit when it operated the VC520/521 service from and back to Brisbane.

Lastly at Clermont Aerodrome in the evening, Skytrans Airlines last two delivered Dash-8-100 aircraft, VH-QQK and VH-QQL were noted operating the evening FIFO flight from Brisbane. This is one of VH-QQK's first ever visits to Clermont. At this stage, these aircraft should be overnighting. Some photos below were taken early on Tuesday 26 April as they prepared for depature.

There is also a picture of how apron repairs take place in Clermont!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Pair of Airvans and More at the Whitsunday Airport Over the Easter Weekend

A pair of local Gippsland GA-8 Airvans and several helicopters were spotted at the Whitsunday Airport (WAVE) at Shute Harbour (near Airlie Beach) over the Easter weekend...

GA-8 Airvan VH-LVA is operated by Air Whitsunday Seaplanes for transfers to Hamilton Island Airport...

GA-8 Airvan VH-RTS is operated by Skydive Airlie Beach...

Bell 206 Helicopter VH-CKT is operated by Aviation Tourism Australia (Curry/Kenny Aviation)...

Robinson R-44 Helicopter VH-WSM is also operated by Aviation Tourism Australia (Curry/Kenny Aviation)...

Lastly, an amateur built JetExec T62 Helicopter VH-RMO was also noted at the airport with a colourful paint scheme...

What a nice weekend!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

8-Minute Whitsunday Airport Link to Hamilton Island Airport Takes Off

An eight-minute air link for tourists to get from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island Airport has become reality.

Air Whitsunday's new air link has created a direct transfer from the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour.

As shown above, their new Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan aircraft - registered VH-LVA - is the first plane in the fleet that can do land-to-land transfers. This is unlike Air Whitsunday's other sea and land combination planes like to Cessna 208 Caravan Float Planes shown below with the Airvan.

With only a minimum requirement of two passengers, the plane will run as often as possible to cater for emerging customers to, literally, get the new flight off the ground.

Initial marketing has been well received, and despite there being a very reliable ferry service over the same run, Air Whitsunday hopes to help people to minimise their travel time.

Air Whitsunday said this new service could also be the start of other air link opportunities to connect to other areas up and down the coast such as Mackay, Bowen and Townsville.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jetstar A320 in Special Colours Makes it a Good Friday at the Whitsunday Coast / Proserpine Airport

I popped into the Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine on Friday 22 April, and received a pleasant surprise when Jetstar's Airbus A320 VH-VGP flew in as JQ830 from Brisbane.

This aircraft (as shown above) wears a special livery promoting the band 'Powderfinger' and their recent 'Sunsets' farewell tour of Australia.

Meanwhile, the airport's upgrade is continuing, despite delays caused by the terrible weather that Central and North Queensland has experienced this year.

The construction commenced late last year, and sees a $7 million upgrade of the existing terminal and facilities at the Airport. The upgrade and refurbishment of the Whitsunday Coast Airport Terminal is a joint project between the State Government and the Whitsunday Regional Council.

At this stage, the outside area near the Virgin Blue section of the terminal is now completely blocked off, with major building work still expected to be completed sometime during 2011.

The parking at the airport is still very limited and as you can see, cars are still forced parked on the grass verges.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Whitsunday Airport Vintage Tiger Moth could be Returning

The Whitsunday Times newspaper has recently reported that the historic Tiger Moth vintage plane tourist attraction (photographed above at the Whitsunday Aviation Village Estate Airshow in 2009), may be back in the Whitsundays by December this year.

Business owner Peter Hearnshaw closed his business, Whitsunday Tiger Moth Adventures, at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour last year because of tough economic times. He moved his business to Cairns, but is in discussions on the possibilities of coming back.

The vintage De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth - VH-BOJ - was photographed late last year operating at Cairns Airport.

Mr Hearnshaw has kept in regular contact with Whitsunday Aviation Village Estate (WAVE) owner and landlord Jeffrey Ruddell, and has been negotiating his options of returning.

Mr Hearnshaw said the Whitsundays was his home but it wasn't feasible for him to stay in town last year.

Mr Ruddell said he opened the door to finding a solution for the Tiger Moth's return to the Whitsundays. “It's good for the area, and it's good for the tourists", he said.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Strategic Airlines Hosts Open Afternoon at Gladstone Airport

Strategic Airlines touched down in Gladstone this week and passengers gave the first days service a big thumbs up.

And to further enhance their arrival into Gladstone, Strategic Airlines hosted an "open afternoon" on Tuesday 19 April. The gates at Gladstone Airport and the doors of Airbus A320 VH-YQA were thrown open, and Strategic believe that about 400 people came along to make the afternoon a great success.

People got dressed up, a local radio station broadcasted live, and prizes were given out.

Meanwhile, as Strategic celebrated, Qantas went on the front foot, announcing an extra eight flights a week between Gladstone and Brisbane.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Strategic Airlines Touches Down at Gladstone Airport

Strategic Airlines has commenced twice daily flights (Monday to Friday) between Brisbane and Gladstone on Monday 18 April.

The first flight touched down at Gladstone Airport this morning from Brisbane as VC520, and was operated by Airbus A320 VH-YQA.

The aircraft features 8 business class seats and 144 economy seats, and the Strategic Airlines' in-flight services will include complimentary meals and refreshments for all passengers.

The Brisbane to Gladstone flights will depart Brisbane Airport at 6.10am (VC520) and 2.45pm (VC524) arriving in Gladstone at 7.15am and 3.40pm.

Gladstone to Brisbane flights will depart Gladstone Airport at 8.25am (VC521) and 4.35pm (VC525) arriving in Brisbane 9.30am and 5.40pm respectively.

You can read more in our previous blog post HERE. We hope wish Strategic Airlines all the best with this new venture!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Clermont Aerodrome Visitors Last Week

As well as the regular Skytrans Airlines and Advance Aviation FIFO charters, it was a particularly busy day at Clermont Aerodrome on Tuesday 12 April, with a number of light aircraft and helicopter visitors ferrying local land holders and other participants to a big town meeting.

Shown below at the airport, waiting for their passengers to return from the meeting are: Cessna 172 VH-XUI, Cessna 310 VH-SKX, and Cessna 172 VH-DJN.

An unidentified Robinson R-44 helicopter was also noted ferrying passengers in and out of the airport for the meeting.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Strategic Airlines to Start Flying to Gladstone Airport Next Monday

A reminder that Strategic Airlines will introduce two daily return flights - Monday to Friday - linking Gladstone and Brisbane, on Monday 18 April. The flights will be operated by an Airbus A320 jet aircraft. The aircraft will feature 8 business class seats and 144 economy seats.

The Brisbane to Gladstone flights will depart Brisbane Airport at 6.10am (VC520) and 2.45pm (VC524) arriving in Gladstone at 7.15am and 3.40pm.

Gladstone to Brisbane flights will depart Gladstone Airport at 8.25am (VC521) and 4.35pm (VC525) arriving in Brisbane 9.30am and 5.40pm respectively.

In-flight services will include complimentary meals and refreshments for all passengers.

You can read more in our previous blog post HERE. We hope wish Strategic Airlines all the best with this new venture!!

Meanwhile, the Gladstone Airport redevelopment will be complete with new security screening facilities to become fully operational by the time of the arrival of the first Strategic Airlines' flight next week.

A Gladstone Regional Council spokesperson recently stated that 13 screening staff have been in the process of being trained by Council in preparation for passenger screening.

The Gladstone Regional Council was required to install the security measures as a result of new Federal Government regulations, which require the installation to occur before July 1, 2012.

There will be two different screening points for passengers and checked baggage. The passenger screening point is situated at the start of the western entry to the departure lounges. This facility will check all hand luggage and passengers. The checked baggage screening point will be situated 'back of house' in the area behind the check-in counters.

Council hopes that the Gladstone Airport terminal would be one of the most modern terminals in regional Australia.

Air Cruising Australia and Royal New Zealand Air Force Aircraft at Rockhampton Airport

Spotted on the ground at Rockhampton Airport early last Saturday 9 April was Dash-8-100 VH-QQA. This aircraft is owned by Skytrans Airlines in Cairns, but was operating an Air Cruising Australia Charter. The aircraft carries "Bill Peach Journeys" titles on the fin.

UPDATE!! We thank Don W in Rockhampton who has supplied the following photo from last Saturday.

VH-QQA departed in the afternoon to the Sunshine Coast as "Cruiser 450". Until recently, this aircraft was operated in Western Australia by Maroomba Airlines.

Then a bit later last Saturday afternoon, a pair of what was believed to be Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Beech B200 King Air aircraft arrived into Rockhampton Airport. Local spotters heard the callsigns "KIWI 879" and "KIWI 905" arrive into the airport, however, they had apparently departed to Cairns before any photos could be taken.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Emerald Airport Plane Spotting Today - Plenty of Beauties!

I took quick trip into Emerald Airport on Thursday 14 April, and to my surprise there were plenty of interesting aircraft to be seen!

Near Advance Aviation, Piper PA-31P-350/A1, VH-JUL was parked in the bright sun after receiving some recent attention in their hangar. This aircraft is pictured below and registered in Broken Hill (N.S.W.).

On the main General Aviation parking area, I noted several visiting and resident aircraft parked, including:

Piper PA-31 VH-WZZ, which is registered in Rockhampton...

Advance Aviation's Piper PA-32R-301 VH-LPW...

Cessna 182, VH-FNW, which is registered in Tennant Creek (N.T.)...

Cessna 303, VH-LMS, which is registered in Goondiwindi...

Cessna 402B, VH-RLX, which is registered in Brisbane...

Around behind the terminal on the visiting aircraft and cargo parking aprons, I noted:

Australasian Jet's Cessna 500 Citation I bizjet VH-ZMD...

As well as Advance Aviation's Beech 58 Baron VH-FLZ and Piper PA-32-300 VH-MSR, which were both parked ready for afternoon freight runs to nearby towns...

What a nice day's spotting!