Sunday, January 26, 2020

Former Jetstar Airways (New Zealand) Dash-8-Q300s to Resume Service with QantasLink - VH-SBI Pops into CQ Airports Last Week

This week, one of the five former New Zealand-based Jetstar Airways Dash-8-Q300 turboprops VH-SBI emerged from the paint-shop and re-entered service with Qantas / QantasLink.  And almost immediately, VH-SBI was then noted calling into Central Queensland at Bundaberg Airport.

VH-SBI arrives into Brisbane Airport recently

On Thursday 23 January, VH-SBI was noted completing two return flights into Bundaberg Airport from and back to Brisbane.

Days earlier on Tuesday 21 January, VH-SBI ferried from Townsville to Brisbane after it was earlier rolled out of the Flying Colours Paint-Shop after being re-painted into QantasLink colours (Qantas Silver Roo colour scheme).  It appears that VH-SBI has also been named 'Echuca'.

VH-SBI had ferried back into Brisbane from New Zealand at the start of December (pcitured) and entered the paint-shop just before Christmas.

VH-SBI arrives back into Brisbane Airport from New Zealand  (File photo)

In September last year, it was announced that Jetstar Airways planned to end regional turboprop services in New Zealand at the end of November due to ongoing losses and weak market conditions.  The Qantas-owned low-cost carrier (LCC) began flying in New Zealand in December 2015 to cover a gap that was left in the Kiwi market following Air New Zealand's decision to withdrawn from a number of regional routes.

These services had been operated by as many as five Dash-8-Q300 turboprops which were wet-leased from fellow Qantas Group subsidiary Eastern Australia Airlines (QantasLink) and connected Jetstar's Auckland base with Napier/Hastings, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, and Wellington via Nelson.

The five Dash-8-Q300s were individually ferried across the Tasman from Auckland via Norfolk Island to Brisbane in November and December last year.

VH-SBI now becomes the third of the fleet to have been re-painted and then re-entered service with Qantas / QantasLink.  It joins VH-TQK 'Tathra', which continues to operate inter-state, and VH-TQD 'Mount Isa', which still operates out of Brisbane into Central Queensland Airports quite regularly.  Both re-entered service during December last year.

The other two Dash-8-Q300s, VH-TQL and VH-TQM ferried to Tamworth in New South Wales where they appear to still remain parked, perhaps in storage.

Photos taken by Steve Goldsworthy and Lloyd Fox  ©

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