On a lovely evening on Saturday 17 September, the first of four 'waves' of heavy jet charter flights in support of the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2016 kicked off with a pair of historic first visits.
Firstly, Air New Zealand Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZI touched down direct from Singapore's Changi Airport as ANZ1921. It had earlier positioned into Singapore from Auckland as ANZ6000.
This was the first time ever that a Boeing B787 Dreamliner has visited Rockhampton. The Dreamliner is Boeing's most fuel-efficient airliner and is pioneering with the use of composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. The 787 was designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the Boeing 767, which it was intended to replace. The 787 Dreamliner's distinguishing features include mostly electrical flight systems, swept wingtips, and noise-reducing chevrons on the nacelles of its engines - which for the eight-strong (of ten) fleet of Air New Zealand B787-9's are a pair of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
After ZK-NZI was unloaded of what looked to be a full load of passengers and cargo, it made a spectacular departure back to Changi (empty) as ANZ6002.
It is expected that the Dreamliner will again visit Rockhampton Airport during the early afternoon on Sunday 18 September.
A short while later on Saturday 17 September, Qantas Airways Airbus A330-202 VH-EBV touched down at Rockhampton Airport also direct from Changi but as QFA6030. It had earlier positioned to Singapore from Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport as QFA6003.
VH-EBV is one of the 'younger' A330-200's in the Qantas fleet and wears additional titles highlighting Qantas' membership of the 'One World Alliance' - a worldwide alliance of some 14 major airlines and several more affiliates.
VH-EBV also unloaded a load of passengers and cargo and was later heard departing back to Changi as well but as QFA6004. It too is expected to return to Rockhampton Airport during the evening on Sunday 18 September.
This will see the end of the first 'wave' of heavy jet charter flights in support of Exercise Wallaby 2016. Another 'wave' of flights is expected at the start of October.
A great night!