Monday, October 3, 2016

Exercise Wallaby 2016 - New Air New Zealand B787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZJ and B777-200 ZK-OKE Both at Rockhampton Airport Sunday - And the Dreamliner Suffers a Bat Strike!

The second 'wave' (of four) heavy jet charter flights in support of the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2016 continued in spectacular and dramatic fashion late on Sunday 2 October with a pair of Air New Zealand wide bodies touching down at Rockhampton Airport.  The drama occurred when Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZJ sustained damage as a result of a 'bat-strike' while on finals, moments before touching down on Runway 33 as ANZ1923 from Singapore's Changi Airport.

A dent was clearly visible to the bottom let-side of the nose of ZK-NZJ.

Ground staff were reportedly in contact with Air New Zealand engineers in New Zealand who eventually cleared the aircraft to depart back to Singapore.  There were suggestions that ZK-NZJ could have been grounded at Rockhampton Airport or even flown back to Auckland with a replacement aircraft sent over to carry the first outbound load of Singaporean troops out of Rocky.

The departure of ZK-NZJ was delayed such that fellow Air New Zealand Boeing B777-200 ZK-OKE also touched down at Rockhampton Airport but as ANZ1941 and was forced to temporarily park on Taxiway Juliette.

Of interest, ZK-OKE had earlier positioned empty from Auckland to Singapore as ANZ6010.

But as mentioned, ZK-NZJ was eventually loaded with troops and cargo and it later departed Rockhampton Airport for Singapore as ANZ1924.

At the time of writing, ZK-NZJ is again winging its way back to Rockhampton Airport from Singapore as ANZ1925 with a landing during the afternoon on Monday 3 October.

Meanwhile, ZK-OKE then taxied on Gate 6 for parking, was unloaded and then re-loaded, and later departed Rocky for Singapore in the wee small hours of Monday 3 October as ANZ1942.

It is also shortly due to head back to Rockhampton Airport from Singapore but as ANZ1943 with another late evening arrival in the beef capital.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Kayanne H for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman  ©

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