Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sixth Qantas / QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXN in New 'Silver-Roo' Colours Visits CQ at Mackay Airport

On Sunday 1 March, QantasLink (Cobham Aviation-operated) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXN looked to make its first visit into Central Queensland since it was re-painted into the new Qantas / QantasLink 'Silver-Roo' colour scheme.

VH-NXN at Cairns Airport recently in new colours

It called into Mackay Airport while operating the QJE1774/1775 service from and back to Brisbane.

At the time of writing, VH-NXN is due to return to Mackay Airport again early on Monday 2 March.

VH-NXN underwent planned maintenance at Singapore (Seletar) Airport in December and January and it is believed that while it was there, it was re-painted into the new Qantas / QantasLink colour scheme.  VH-NXN ferried back to Australia via Broome in Western Australia and then Cairns at the end of January, and it is now the sixth of the fleet of Cobham Aviation-operated Boeing B717-200 regional jets to wear the new and updated Qantas livery and kangaroo logo, which was introduced to coincide with the introduction the Boeing B787 Dreamliner into service with the airline in 2017.

It also appears that the previously un-named VH-NXN has now been named 'Freycinet National Park'.

VH-NXN is the second QantasLink B717-200 in the fleet to be re-painted having previously worn the 2007 'New Roo' style livery after VH-NXO was re-painted late last year.  The other four B717-200s previously wore their original 1984-style Qantas / QantasLink livery.

VH-NXN at Rockhampton Airport in 2013  (File photo)

VH-NXN at Rockhampton Airport in 2015  (File photo)

Of interest, VH-NXN has had an interesting history to the present day.  The Boeing B717-231 (c/n 55095-5087) was originally ordered new in 2001 by Trans World Airlines (TWA) in the USA and entered the US Aircraft Register as N428TW in November 2001.  It was transferred to American Airlines when the airlines merged in December 2001 but was withdrawn from use and stored at Victorville, California in December 2001.

After being returned to Pembroke 717 Leasing, the B717 was soon cancelled from the US Aircraft Register and entered the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-VQI being leased to Qantas for operation by QantasLink but with Impulse Airlines as the registered operator.  VH-VQI eventually arrived into Australia at Newcastle (Williamtown) in May 2002.  It was re-painted soon after and entered service during the middle part of May 2002.

VH-VQI in January 2004  (jg9085 / https://www.flickr.com/)

On Thursday 29 May 2003, VH-VQI was the aircraft involved in an attempted hijacking on a flight from Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Hobart.  More information on this incident can be found HERE.

In April 2004, VH-VQI became the first Boeing B717-200 to be painted into the Jetstar Airways 'silver' livery.   It was rolled out for the airline’s media launch and then operated a promotional flight from Sydney to Gold Coast in May 2004.

VH-VQI arrives into the Gold Coast in July 2004  (File photo)

After operating more promotional flights, including one between Sydney and Mackay Airport, VH-VQI then completed a special 'inaugural' Jetstar Airways flight from Newcastle (Williamtown) to Melbourne (Tullamarine) on Tuesday 25 May 2004.

VH-VQI at Mackay Airport in January 2005  (File photo)

In January 2006, the aircraft was re-registered as VH-YQI and continued to operate for Jetstar until April when it was withdrawn from service and stored at Brisbane and then eventually Tamworth in New South Wales.

VH-YQI stored at Tamworth in January 2007  (File photo)

After National Jet Systems (now Cobham Aviation Services) was awarded the contract to operate services for QantasLink, the B717 was re-registered VH-NXN in December 2007 and soon after, it ferried to Perth to commence operations in Western Australia.

In March 2009, National Jet Systems was re-branded as Cobham Aviation Services Australia and VH-NXN continues to operate services for QantasLink by Cobham Aviation.  This contract will reportedly run until 2026.

Photo taken by Jonathan Williams  ©

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