SilkAir de-links Cairns, Darwin services

B738 SLK 9VMGE CNS 18JUL2015 1 Andrew Belczacki

SilkAir will de-link its twice-weekly Singapore-Darwin-Cairns-Singapore flight MI 822 from May 30 in a move that will see the Singapore Airlines regional subsidiary operate direct services for all of its flights to both Darwin and Cairns.

At present, passengers who opt to fly on either the Monday or Thursday Singapore-Cairns service will have to do a stopover in Darwin. From 30 May, passengers will no longer have to do this stopover in Darwin when they travel from Singapore to Cairns. Currently, direct flights between Singapore and Cairns are only operated on Saturdays,” SilkAir said in a statement on Monday.

“Likewise, passengers flying from Darwin on Mondays and Thursdays currently have to do a stopover in Cairns on the way to Singapore. With the de-linking of flights, they will now be able to fly non-stop from Darwin to Singapore. The airline also flies direct from and to Darwin on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.”

The new schedule will both cut flight times to Singapore and increase capacity into Darwin and Cairns.

New schedule for Cairns from May 30

Flight

Flight Routing

Days of Operation

Departure/Arrival

MI812

Cairns-Singapore

Mon, Thu

Cairns 1240hrs/ Singapore 1710hrs

MI811

Singapore-Cairns

Mon, Thu

Singapore 0140hrs/ Cairns 1025hrs

MI812

Cairns-Singapore

Sat

Cairns 1115hrs/ Singapore 1550hrs

MI811

Singapore-Cairns

Sat

Singapore 0140hrs/  Cairns 1025hrs

New schedule for Darwin from May 30

Flight

Flight Routing

Days of Operation

Departure/ Arrival

MI804

Darwin-Singapore

Tue, Fri

Darwin 0255hrs/ Singapore 0615hrs

MI803

Singapore-Darwin

Mon, Thu

Singapore 1955hrs/ Darwin 0205hrs 

MI802

Darwin- Singapore

Wed, Fri, Sun

Darwin 1550hrs/ Singapore 1900hrs

MI801

Singapore-Darwin

Wed, Fri, Sun

Singapore 0830hrs/ Darwin 1445hrs

 

Australian Aviation

Alliance Aviation Services and Virgin Australia announce “strategic partnership” for FIFO charter

FOKKER 50 ALLIANCE HBA JUL13 RF IMG_9934 crop

Alliance Aviation Services and Virgin Australia have announced a partnership agreement that will see them cooperate in the fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) resource charter market.

“Both airlines will benefit from the ability to leverage each other’s strengths, particularly in terms of network, brand, product and service offering, and technical expertise,” the two companies said in a joint statement to the ASX on Monday.

“This will allow Alliance and Virgin Australia to develop a compelling customer proposition and to more effectively compete in the Australian FIFO market.”

The “long-term strategic partnership” will see Virgin and Alliance form a “charter partnership” to “jointly grow” their charter businesses. The two companies say existing FIFO contracts will remain with their current operators, “with all new contracts to be operated under the Charter Partnership”.

Further, “Alliance and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines [VARA] will enter into agreements to provide and procure services for each other on a preferential basis. This includes, but is not limited to, aircraft procurement, spare parts pooling, maintenance and ground handling services” the statement reads.

On face value the partnership appears to make a lot of sense. FIFO flying has declined following the end of the so-called mining boom, leaving the FIFO market – where other major players include QantasLink (Network), Cobham Aviation Services and Skippers – considerably more competitive.

Further, Alliance and VARA also operate the same fleet types, the Fokker 100 jet and Fokker 50 turboprop (VARA also operates A320s). With its recent acquisition of Austrian Airlines’ entire Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 fleet, Alliance has moved into aircraft and spare parts brokerage and leasing. Virgin Australia, meanwhile, has announced the retirement of all its Fokker 50s by the end of the current financial year – aircraft that perhaps could either join the Alliance fleet, or be brokered for sale by Alliance.

“We look forward to collaborating with Alliance to further build a competitive, efficient and sustainable charter business,” Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti said in the statement.

Alliance managing director Scott McMillan said: “We look forward to partnering with Virgin Australia to leverage the operational and commercial expertise of our respective businesses. With our combined services and expertise we see a great deal of logic in working together.”

The two airlines note the deal is subject to ACCC approval.

 

Australian Aviation

Royal Australian Air Force KC-30 completes first refuelling of a C-17

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) refuels a United States Air Force C-17A Globemaster III transport.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) refuels a United States Air Force C-17A Globemaster III transport.

KC-46A F/A-18 Milestone C

The first air-to-air refuelling from a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport to a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport has occurred over Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The five-hour sortie on February 10 saw 39 contacts between the KC-30 and the C-17, Defence stated, with approximately 6,800kg of fuel transferred via the Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS). This paves the way for refuelling trials with 36 Squadron C-17s in the near future, stated Group Captain Adam Williams, officer commanding 86 Wing.

“The ARBS is a key enabler for the Air Force with most of the RAAF’s future fleet requiring boom type refuelling rather than hose and drogue,” GPCAPT Williams said.

RAAF C-17 crews will soon begin trials, having trained in the role late last year with a Republic of Singapore Air Force KC-135 tanker. In addition to further trials involving the KC-30 and a US C-17, refuelling trials with the F-15 and further trials with the F-16 are scheduled, Defence said.

The RAAF operates five KC-30s, with two more joining the fleet from 2018.

Separately, in other tanker news, Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus tanker, which is being developed for the US Air Force, has refuelled an F/A-18 for the first time, also on February 10. It was the first time the KC-46’s hose and drogue system had been used during flight test.

Earlier on January 24 the KC-46 had used its boom for the first time to refuel an F-16.

Australian Aviation

Chester new minister responsible for aviation, Tehan takes charge of defence materiel

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, The Hon Darren Chester MP addresses participants of the 2015 Chief of Air Force Symposium.

Aviation could receive greater ministerial attention in the federal government after the appointment of Nationals MP Darren Chester as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

Chester, the Member for Gippsland, a former journalist and currently Assistant Minister for Defence, was named as the new minister with responsibility for aviation as part of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet reshuffle announced on Saturday.

“Darren Chester will take on Warren Truss’s responsibilities for infrastructure and transport,” the Prime Minister said in a press conference in Sydney.

“Darren will make a formidable contribution in this portfolio. He has been one of the younger stars in the Parliament and recognised as such for a long time.”

The cabinet reshuffle came after Warren Truss announced on February 11 he was stepping downas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, as well as leader of the National Party.

As well as not being the National Party leader (and consequently Deputy Prime Minister), responsibility for the Regional Development portfolio now falls to new National Party deputy Senator Fiona Nash – who will become Minister for Regional Development, Regional Communications and Rural Health – which suggests Chester as the new Infrastructure and Transport minister could have more time to consider aviation issues.

Dan Tehan, meanwhile, has been announced as the Minister for Defence Materiel.

Tehan, who has been chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security since December 2013, also becomes the new Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, replacing Stuart Robert in those roles.

Mal Brough, the former Special Minister of State and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, who stood aside in December pending the completion of police inquiries, said he did not wish to be considered for a position, according to the PM.

Finally, the new Assistant Minister for Defence is Nationals MP Michael McCormack.

 

Australian Aviation