Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Air Kiribati Embraer E-190-E2 VH-IKJ Pops into Rockhampton Airport While on Training Flight

On Tuesday 22 December, Air Kiribati Embraer E190-E2 (ERJ-190-300 STD) VH-IKJ was spotted at Rockhampton Airport, operating what appears to be a training flight.

The Embraer arrived from Brisbane and taxied in and parked on Bay 5B. After reprogramming, it departed back to the capital.

As mentioned previously, the brand new Embraer was delivered to Air Kiribati at Toowoomba-Wellcamp in January wearing its Brazilian delivery registration marking of PR-EHT.

It was added to the Australian Aircraft Register in February as VH-IKJ is owned by and registered to the Government of Kiribati, with Sydney-based passenger and cargo airline Pionair Australia as the registered operator.

Air Kiribati is the flag carrier of the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) and operates scheduled passenger services to 20 atolls spread over an area of 3.5m sq km.

It is headquartered at Bonriki International Airport on the island of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.  The airline operates an international service from Tarawa to Tuvalu.  Regional charter flights, medical evacuation and search and rescue services are also undertaken by the airline.

Kiribati is a small nation that covers an immense geographical area - which is mostly water.  The E190-E2 was chosen for its ability to economically connect two important islands, Tarawa in the west and Kiritimati or Christmas Island in the east. Even with the E2 this is more than a 4 hour flight.

VH-IKJ appears to have completed only a handful of flights between Brisbane and Tarawa.

Photos taken by Steve Vit and Jaxson White  ©

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