Sunday, November 10, 2019

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

On Sunday 10 November, QantasLink (Cobham Aviation-operated) Boeing B717-200 VH-NXM finally made its first visit into Central Queensland since it was re-painted into the new Qantas / QantasLink 'Silver-Roo' colour scheme.

VH-NXM arrives into Brisbane for the first time since re-painting

It called into Mackay Airport while operating the QJE1774/1775 service from and back to Brisbane.  It appears that VH-NXM had earlier flown all the way over from Perth via Alice Springs.

At the time of writing, VH-NXM is due to return to Mackay Airport again early on Monday 11 November.

VH-NXM underwent planned maintenance at Singapore (Seletar) Airport during October and it is believed that while it was there, it was re-painted into the new Qantas / QantasLink colour scheme.  VH-NXM ferried back to Australia at the start of November and is now the fourth 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-NXM has now been named 'Strzelech National Park'.

VH-NXM was the final aircraft in the QantasLink fleet to still wear its original 1984-style livery.  Aside from the others to be re-painted into the new 'Silver Roo' livery - VH-NXD, VH-NXK and VH-NXL - the rest of the QantasLink B717-200 fleet wear the 2007 'New Roo' style livery.

VH-NXM at Adelaide Airport in 2013  (File photo)

Of interest, VH-NXM has had an interesting history to the present day.  The Boeing B717-231 (c/n 55094-5084) was originally ordered new in 2001 by Trans World Airlines (TWA) in the USA and entered the US Aircraft Register as N2427A in September 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  It was transferred to American Airlines when the airlines merged in December 2001 but was withdrawn from use and stored at Victorville, California in April 2002.

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-VQH being leased to Qantas for operation by QantasLink but with Impulse Airlines as the registered operator.  VH-VQH eventually arrived into Australia at Newcastle (Williamtown) in June 2002.

VH-VQH was leased to Jetstar Airways as the registered operator in December 2003 and operated for the Qantas low-cost carrier until June 2006.

VH-VQH in full Jetstar colours in 2005  (File photo)

The B717-200 was also re-registered VH-YQH during this time and in November 2005 it had its fuselage re-painted gold and had 'LYNXjet' titles to promote a Australian deodorant brand.  VH-VQH didn't enter service with these titles but retained the gold fuselage colours, as the promotional deal was cancelled

Instead, VH-VQH re-entered Jetstar service in December 2005 wearing special Christmas and New Year messages.  These were subsequently removed in January 2006 and on the day it was ere-registered VH-YQH, the B717-200 re-entered service again with Jetstar wearing 'Domino's Pizza' & 'Puffection' pizza titles.

VH-YQH in its 'Domino's Pizza' colours in 2006  (File photo)

After being withdrawn from service, VH-YQH was stored at Brisbane until December 2006, when it ferried to Tamworth for further storage.

After National Jet Systems (now Cobham Aviation Services) was awarded the contract to operate services for QantasLink, the B717 was re-registered VH-NXM in May 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-NXM continues to operate services for QantasLink by Cobham Aviation.  This contract will reportedly run until 2026.

Photos taken by Lloyd Fox, Ryan Hothersall and Tony Haynes  ©

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