Thursday, March 15, 2012
QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 Services Start at Gladstone and Rockhampton Airports Thursday
Shane T was on the scene at Gladstone Airport on Thursday 15 March as QantasLink (Cobham Aviation) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXN touched down as QLK1712, to mark the return of QantasLink RPT jet services to Central Queensland.
VH-NXN arrived to a salute from two fire trucks, which gave the B717 a warm welcome as it taxied to its gate on the lower apron at Gladstone Airport.
Shane reports that fanfare in the Gladstone Airport terminal for the B717's arrival was relatively low key, with only a small number of media personnel on location, as well as some balloons at Gate 3 where the B717 parked. There were no speeches from any officials of any sort, although there was a brief speech by a Public Relations person from Qantas at Brisbane Airport before the boarding call was announced.
Passenger numbers disembarking at Gladstone Airport was fairly small with about a one-third load factor, however numbers were greater for the trip back to Brisbane.
VH-NXN departed as QLK1713 to Brisbane about 10 minutes late at around 3:30pm. It later operated to Rockhampton and back to Brisbane as QLK1744/1745.
Meanwhile, while waiting for the B717 to depart, Shane noticed the Qantas Lounge at Gladstone Airport is now open. Seemingly a very low key opening with little or no coverage in local media or on the Internet. Without authorised access, Shane did the best he could and took a sneaky photo as the door opened and closed!
Shane did note though, that the Lounge does look nice and new and has a very modern feel. There appeared to be a bar in the centre of the lounge, and a variety of different seating arrangements around this.
Elsewhere at Gladstone Airport, Shane also spotted a couple of interesting General Aviation aircraft arriving on Thursday 15 March.
Nixon Communications Cessna 210 Centurion VH-NCG arrived from Dubbo and Melbourne.
While Cessna 208 Caravan VH-LNI arrived from Caloundra. The 1998-build Caravan is owned by Aviation Tourism Australia and is based in the Whitsundays where it has previously been photographed with floats and full Hamilton Island titles.