Very early on Tuesday 5 July, Qantas Freight (operating for StarTrack Express) / Express Freighters Australia Boeing B737-376(BDSF) VH-XMO visited Mackay Airport, arriving from Brisbane as QFA7342. This sees the start of week-daily flights by the B737 freighters into the sugar city.
VH-XMO later departed to Townsville and Cairns. It is expected to then fly back to Brisbane later in the evening.
Of interest, particularly for the history buffs, VH-XMO has had a rich history in Australian skies, originally delivered to Australian Airlines in 1987 as VH-TAW. It was transferred to the Qantas mainline fleet in 1993 before then transferring across the ditch for operations with Qantas-JetConnect out of New Zealand as ZK-JNH. It was then converted into a freighter and took its current registration of VH-XMO for operations with Express Freighters Australia on behalf of Australian Air Express which then became Qantas Freight in 2013.
This new freight service joins the existing Pel-Air SAAB 340A Freighter service (which is also on behalf of Qantas Freight) which flys from Brisbane to Rockhampton and then Mackay. Of interest, VH-KDK operated the morning PFY7416/7418 flight early on Tuesday 5 July. It too is expected to return to Brisbane in the evening again via Rockhampton Airport.
And the week-daily Toll Freight (Toll Aviation) ATR 42-300(F) flight from Brisbane to Mackay Airport and Townsville continues with VH-TOX operating the TFX6 early on Tuesday 5 July. It too was expected to fly from Townsville to Brisbane later in the evening.
Finally, while not technically calling into Central Queensland, Virgin Australia Cargo are expected to commence flights in their own right to Townsville and Cairns (possibly this week) utilising a Skyforce Aviation (Pionair) British Aerospace BAe-146-200 aircraft currently based at Bankstown, as well as Convair 580F freighter aircraft VH-PDW in the Southern states of Australia.
All photos taken by 'AC' ©