Thursday, December 3, 2015

Emerald Airport This Week - Storm Diversions - An Alliance Breakdown - A Few Lighties and a Bizjet Call in

It's been a strange week at Emerald Airport with aircraft diversions and delays due to massive storms on Monday 30 November, followed by a breakdown of an Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70 jet on Tuesday 1 December and capped off with a familiar bizjet paying a visit and a trio Cessna 310 aircraft passing through on trips to the North and South.

On Monday 30 November, Mackellar Mining Equipment / Flight Options (Australia) Cessna 560 Citation Ultra bizjet VH-MMC touched down at Emerald Airport from the Sunshine Coast.

File photo

On Thursday 3 December, VH-MMC departed back to the Sunny Coast.

Later on Monday 30 November, large storms rolled through Emerald with one wind-gust at Emerald Airport recorded at over 100km/h.  As a result passenger and (possibly) freight flights in and out of Emerald were affected.

QantasLink Dash-8-Q400 Next Gen VH-LQM, operating the evening QLK2418 flight from Brisbane, along with Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70 jet VH-QQY, operating the evening UTY4078 Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charter flight from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, both forced to hold North and West of Emerald.

As shown below, the evening Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) VOZ1267 from Brisbane to Emerald diverted to Rockhampton.

The flight was operated by ATR 72-600 VH-VPI and later flew from Rocky to Emerald before returning to Brisbane as the delayed VOZ1268 service.

Finally on Monday 30 November, there was no Toll Freight Express Metro TFX111 flight out of Emerald to Brisbane via Rockhampton.  Instead, I noticed that Metro 23 VH-UZN diverted into Rockhampton while operating the TFX103 flight which usually flys from Townsville to Brisbane direct.  Fellow Toll Metro III VH-UZS which remained parked at Emerald during Monday, departed directly for Brisbane on Tuesday 1 December as TFX705.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday 1 December, Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70 jet VH-JFE touched down at Emerald on the early UTY4072 FIFO flight from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and broke down.  Around midday, Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 jet VH-FKG positioned from Brisbane to Emerald as UTY990 and operated back to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane on the 'return' UTY4073 flight.

VH-JFE at Emerald Airport on Tuesday evening  (Photo taken by 'AC'  ©)

VH-JFE returned to Brisbane empty after dark on Tuesday as UTY991.

As an aside, VH-JFE seemed to be back to normal on Wednesday 3 December as it was noted operating again into Emerald Airport but this time on a scheduled service on behalf of QantasLink as UTY2630/2631.

Finally, a few interesting light General Aviation (GA) aircraft have been noted passing through Emerald Airport this week including a trio of Cessna 310s - two of which are operated by Dubbo-based Air Link.

Firstly, on Tuesday 1 December, Redjet Aviation Piper PA-31 Navajo VH-PJU called into Emerald for part of the day from its Toowoomba base.

On Wednesday 2 December, Air Link Cessna 310 VH-BWQ ferried to Townsville from Dubbo via Emerald, while on Thursday 3 December, Air Link Cessna 310 VH-JMP (pictured below) ferried South to Dubbo from Townsville via Emerald.

Robert Myers /

It appears that Air Link Cessna 310s are frequent visitors to Far North Queensland with both VH-JMP and VH-BWQ also noted in Cairns and Townsville at other times during this year.

The final Cessna 310 to call in was Rolleston-based VH-XBB.

A busy week so far!

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