USS Bonhomme Richard arriving at Fremantle - 25 June 2015

USS Bonhomme Richard arriving at Fremantle – 25 June 2015
Photo © Keith Anderson.

25 June 2015 © Keith Anderson.

The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) docked in Fremantle Harbour at around 9:00 am this morning. The liberty visit is associated with the training exercise Talisman Sabre 2015, to be held over approximately 20 days in early- to mid-July 2015.

The USS Bonhomme Richard is the command ship for Expeditionary Strike Group Seven, forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan. It carried a total of 25 aircraft: 22 assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) comprising of MV-22B Osprey, CH-53E Super Stallions, AV-8B Harrier II; and three MH-60S Seahawks of the US Navy. AH-1W Sea Cobras and UH-1y Hueys are also usually carried, but for this cruise they were embarked aboard the USS Green Bay.

USS Green Bay (LPD-20), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, was the first of its class to visit Fremantle.  It was designed to deliver a fully equipped battalion of 800 marines. It entered port this morning with 4 AH-1W Sea Cobras and 3 UH-1Y Venoms of the 31st MEU on the deck.

The third ship to enter the harbour this morning was USS Preble (DDG-88) an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. She carries two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters of the US Navy.

AviationWA visited USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6). We have compiled a special article and photo page featuring photos of the arrival and departure of the ships, aerial photos and photos taken aboard.

Perth Airport taxiways  - 27 June 2015. The new taxways are shown in blue. © Airservices Australia

Perth Airport taxiways – 27 June 2015. The new taxways are shown in blue. © Airservices Australia

27 June 2015 © David Eyre

Perth Airport today opened the recently lengthened Taxiway Charlie.

Taxiway Charlie is located to the east of and parallel with runway 03/21. It was extended at the south end, and now joins to the threshold of runway 03 via a new taxiway ‘Charlie 11’.

Previously, taxiway C ended about one-third of the distance from the threshold of runway 03, requiring some aircraft to either take off at the intersection of Taxiway L or cross the runway on taxiway Lima to then proceed down the western side of the runway on taxiway Alpha to the south end for take-off. This caused some delays and safety issues, as aircraft had to cross the active runway.

The extension of taxiway Charlie will reduce taxying time by 20 per cent.

Spectators at the Perth Airport Viewing Area will be a little disappointed that less aircraft will taxy immediately in front of the viewing area, but it provides some different viewing angles for aircraft photography.

Existing taxiways are to be renamed as follows:

  • ‘Taxiway Kilo’ will be renamed ‘Taxiway Alpha 7’.
  • ‘Taxiway Lima 1’ will be renamed ‘Taxiway Alpha 9’.
  • ‘Taxiway Lima 2’ will be renamed ‘Taxiway Charlie 9’.
  • ‘Taxiway Mike’ will be renamed ‘TaxiwayAlpha 11’.

 

VH-XZP Boeing 737-838(W) (MSN 44577) of Qantas at Perth Airport – 26 June 2015

VH-XZP Boeing 737-838(W) (MSN 44577) of Qantas at Perth Airport – 26 June 2015
Qantas resumed services on the Perth – Singapore route on 26 June with retro roo Boeing 737-838 VH-XZP operating the 5 times per week QF71- QF72 rotation.” Regular Qantas services between Perth and Singapore were terminated on 11 May 2014, though some seasonal services operated during the 2014 July school holidays.
Photo © Allan Tilley.

VH-XZP Boeing 737-838(W) (MSN 44577) of Qantas at Perth Airport – 26 June 2015

VH-XZP Boeing 737-838(W) (MSN 44577) of Qantas at Perth Airport – 26 June 2015
Qantas resumed services on the Perth – Singapore route on 26 June with retro roo Boeing 737-838 VH-XZP operating the 5 times per week QF71- QF72 rotation.” Regular Qantas services between Perth and Singapore were terminated on 11 May 2014, though some seasonal services operated during the 2014 July school holidays.
Photo © Allan Tilley.

26 June 2015 – Copyright © David Eyre

Qantas resumed regularly scheduled Qantas international flights from Perth, with the departure today of flight QF71 to Singapore, operated by Boeing 737-800 VH-XZP ‘James Strong’, which has the special ‘Retro Roo’ livery.

QF71 departed with a full passenger load just after midday and the aircraft was given a water cannon salute by fire crews as it taxied out.

Qantas had ceased operating regular international flights from Perth on 11 May 2014, with the final Perth-Singapore-Perth service operated by Airbus A330-200 VH-EBI. The route had been controversially dropped due to “under-performing”. A temporary Singapore service with A330s operated during July 2014.

QF71/72 operates five times per week using 168-seat Boeing 737-800s, but if demand increases, then it could be up scaled to an A330. The departs Perth at midday and arrives in Singapore at 5.20pm, with the return flight departing Singapore at 6.25pm, arriving into Perth at 11.40pm.

Singapore is the second largest source of foreign visitors to Perth. About 80,000 Singapore visitors travelled to WA between September 2013 and September 2014, spending a total of $193 million around the state.

More than 50 flights per week operate between Perth and Singapore. Singapore Airlines, Scoot and Jetstar Asia also operate on the route.

  • 9V-OJD Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (MSN 37115/308) named 'Big Yella Fella' of Scoot, over Henley Brook, north of Perth - Thu 4 June 2015. First visit to Perth by 9V-OJD. Flight TZ8 from Singapore seen at 5:20pm just after sunset, at 2,800 feet on descent, joining the approach to Perth Airport's runway 21. Photo © David Eyre
    9V-OJD Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (MSN 37115/308) named 'Big Yella Fella' of Scoot, over Henley Brook, north of Perth - Thu 4 June 2015. First visit to Perth by 9V-OJD. Flight TZ8 from Singapore seen at 5:20pm just after sunset, at 2,800 feet on descent, joining the approach to Perth Airport's runway 21. Photo © David Eyre

20 June 2015 – copyright © David Eyre

The State Government has announced that Busselton Regional Airport is to have its terminal and runway upgraded under a $59.7 million project.

Busselton Regional Airport is currently limited to CASA Code 3C aircraft on intrastate flights, such as the Fokker 100s of Virgin Australia taking mine workers to iron ore mines in the Pilbara region.

Under the project, it will be upgraded to take Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft (CASA Code 4C), which will enable direct interstate aviation services.

Additional land is to be purchased to enable the runway to be extended and widened. The terminal and car park will also be expanded. Construction is expected to start in early 2017, with completion by mid-2018.

The Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett also announced that consideration would be given to a new name for the airport, given its increased importance for the whole Margaret River region. The name will be chosen by the public, with the list of suggestions including Margaret River Airport, Busselton-Margaret River Airport, Capes-Margaret River Airport, Cape Naturaliste Airport and Vasse Airport.

It is expected that the airport upgrade will help generate tourism and jobs, as well as boosting air freight capacity and enabling larger aircraft to be used on FIFO flights. The Premier also hopes that the upgrade will make international flights possible in the late 2020s.

The Government will include some financial incentives to attract Qantas and Virgin to operate services to Busselton from the Eastern States.

9M-MTA Airbus A330-323X (MSN 1209) and 9M-MXG Boeing 737-8H6 (MSN 40134/3873) of Malaysia Airlines, at Perth Airport – Sun 28 December 2014. Two Malaysia Airlines aircraft together at Perth. 9M-MTA has just parked at Bay 53 after arriving as flight MH125 from Kuala Lumpur at 3:02pm. Behind is 9M-MXG, taxying out for departure as flight MH120 to Kota Kinabalu. Photo © David Eyre

9M-MTA Airbus A330-323X (MSN 1209) and 9M-MXG Boeing 737-8H6 (MSN 40134/3873) of Malaysia Airlines, at Perth Airport – Sun 28 December 2014.
Two Malaysia Airlines aircraft together at Perth. 9M-MTA has just parked at Bay 53 after arriving as flight MH125 from Kuala Lumpur at 3:02pm. Behind is 9M-MXG, taxying out for departure as flight MH120 to Kota Kinabalu.
Photo © David Eyre

27 May 2015 Copyright © David Eyre

Malaysia Airlines is to undergo a complete revamp, as it is restructured into a new company.

The airline has not made a profit since 2008 and in the three years to 2013, losses totalled $1.3 billion. Part of this was due to strong competition from low-cost airlines, such as AirAsia, but Malaysia Airlines was also hampered by high operating costs caused by overstaffing, union disputes, and government interference. It then suffered two tragedies, with the disappearance of MH370 in March 2014 and the shootdown of MH17 in July 2014, which shook customer confidence.  Following this, the airline was withdrawn from the stock market and taken over by Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, which announced a $1.8 billion restructuring plan.

Christoph Mueller, the newly-appointed German CEO, is the airline’s first foreign CEO and he had previously led restructures at Ireland’s Aer Lingus, Belgium’s Sabena and Germany’s Lufthansa. He said that “It’s not a continuation of the old company in a new disguise, everything is new.” The revamp will transform Malaysia Airlines into a new “start-up” airline.

Mueller has advised staff that the airline will have to undergo a difficult and painful restructure, with the possibility of up to 8,000 job cuts from the 20,000 employees. Starting today, all 20,000 staff will be sent termination letters, but two-thirds of these workers will also receive a second letter offering them the chance to be rehired under new employment conditions.  Union members have threatened a strike after the termination letters are issued. The staff who are not re-employed will receive compensation payments and will be released in phases. Several airlines, including Korean Airlines and Qatar Airways, recently conducted recruitment roadshows in Malaysia, hoping to attract flight crews from Malaysia Airlines.

Key changes reportedly include:

  • Rebranding: possible new name, livery and uniforms.
  • Routes review: It is expected that the airline will withdraw from a number of European and Middle Eastern routes, to focus on routes in the South East Asia region
  • Fleet changes: The fleet will be smaller and used more efficiently. Mueller confirmed that the airline has been trying to find buyers for two of its Airbus A380 aircraft, but he expects to keep a number of the aircraft types it currently has, including the Airbus A330s, Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 777-200s.
  • New company: Assets and liabilities are being transferred to a new company, Malaysia Airlines Bhd, which is due to start operating by September 2015.
  • Staff cuts: Up to 8,000 job losses and remaining staff offered a job with new employment conditions.
  • Supplier contracts renegotiated on better terms

 

 

HB-VXA Pilatus PC-24 prototype (MSN P01) taking off on its first flight at Buochs Airport, Stans, Switzerland - Mon 11 May 2015. Photo © Pilatus

HB-VXA Pilatus PC-24 prototype (MSN P01) taking off on its first flight at Buochs Airport, Stans, Switzerland – Mon 11 May 2015. Photo © Pilatus

15 May 2015 © David Eyre

The donation by Rio Tinto will go to the RFDS Aero Medical Fund, to fund their new PC-24 jets, a flight simulator and a new RFDS base in Broome.

As reported in AviationWA on 22 May 2014, the RFDS ordered three Pilatus PC24 planes plus one option for $12.4 million each.

Compared to the RFDS’s current Pilatus PC-12 turboprops, the new PC-24s travel twice as far, in half the time.

Since 2009, Rio Tinto has funded VH-RIO, the Hawker 800XP ‘Life Flight’ jet, which had evacuated almost 1500 patients, mostly from the Kimberley and Pilbara regions. The Hawker 800XP can carry two critically ill patients at a time, each with their own doctor and nurse team. The new PC24 jets will be able to take three stretcher patients at the same time. Unlike most other jets, the PC-24s can also operate from dirt airstrips and be flown by a single pilot.

Rio Tinto has donated a total of $22.5 million to the RFDS over the last decade.

The PC-24 made a successful first flight earlier this week on 11 May 2015, at Buochs Airport, Stans, Switzerland. The aircraft is due to be certified for service in 2017, and the first two years of production is already sold out. Below is video footage by Pilatus of the first flight :

ZK-NCJ Boeing 767-319ER (winglets) (MSN 26915/574) of Air New Zealand at Perth Airport – Tue 23 December 2014. Flight NZ162 to Christchurch, seen here at 8:03pm, about to taxy out from Terminal 1. The NZ161/162 service between Perth and Christchurch is seasonal, operating during Summer. Photo © Evan Robson

ZK-NCJ Boeing 767-319ER (winglets) (MSN 26915/574) of Air New Zealand at Perth Airport – Tue 23 December 2014.
Flight NZ162 to Christchurch, seen here at 8:03pm, about to taxy out from Terminal 1. The NZ161/162 service between Perth and Christchurch is seasonal, operating during Summer.
Photo © Evan Robson

15 May 2015 © David Eyre

From December 11 2015 to 1 May 2016, Air New Zealand will add three return services (NZ177/NZ178) between Perth and Auckland, using Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

This is in addition to the current daily Boeing 787-9 services (NZ175/NZ176), which will have their schedules changed from 11 December 2015 with an earlier arrival into Perth.  The seasonal twice weekly Christchurch – Perth services will also have schedule changes.

The schedule for the services is as follows, from 11 December 2015 (subject to change):

  • DAILY: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner: NZ175 Departs Auckland 1050 – Arrives Perth 1320 / NZ176 Departs Perth at 1850 – Arrives at Auckland at 0605 the following day.
  • MON/THU/FRI: Boeing 767-300ER: NZ177 Departs Auckland 1900 – Arrives Perth 2140
  • WED/FRI/SUN: Boeing 767-300ER: NZ178 Departs Perth 0600 – Arrives Auckland 1730
  • The seasonal twice weekly Christchurch – Perth will also see similar schedule changes.

Air New Zealand is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its first flight, made by a Short S.30 flying boat on 30 April 1940, taking nine hours to travel from Auckland to Sydney with only nine passengers aboard. The same journey now takes less than three hours aboard a Boeing 767-300ER, which carries 230 passengers.

Qantas operates seasonal services between Perth and Auckland, with one weekly return flight from 30 October to 6 December 2015, then twice-weekly from 11 December 2015 to 26 March 2016, using Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

A6-EOE Airbus A380-861 (MSN 169) of Emirates, at Perth Airport - Fri 1 May 2015. First scheduled service to Perth by an A380. Flight EK420 from Dubai landing on runway 21 at 5:29pm. Photo © David Eyre

A6-EOE Airbus A380-861 (MSN 169) of Emirates, at Perth Airport – Fri 1 May 2015.
First scheduled service to Perth by an A380. Flight EK420 from Dubai landing on runway 21 at 5:29pm.
Photo © David Eyre

A6-EOE Airbus A380-861 (MSN 169) of Emirates, at Perth Airport - Fri 1 May 2015. First scheduled service to Perth by an A380. Flight EK420 from Dubai taxying in on Taxiway S at 5:36pm, receiving a traditional water cannon salute from airport fire crews. Photo © David Eyre

A6-EOE Airbus A380-861 (MSN 169) of Emirates, at Perth Airport – Fri 1 May 2015.
First scheduled service to Perth by an A380. Flight EK420 from Dubai taxying in on Taxiway S at 5:36pm, receiving a traditional water cannon salute from airport fire crews.
Photo © David Eyre

Cutting the cake at the Reception for Emirates first A380 service to Perth, in the Observation Deck at Perth Airport - Fri 1 May 2015. Flanked by two Emirates Flight Attendants, are Darren Tyrell - Emirates Regional Manager, WA; Rob Gurney - Emirates Divisional Vice President Commercial Operations, Australia; Captain Steve Darnell - Emirates A380 pilot, who flew the inaugural service; the Hon. Dr Kim Hames MLA - Minister for Tourism; and Brad Geatches - CEO of Perth Airport. Photo © David Eyre

Cutting the cake at the Reception for Emirates first A380 service to Perth, in the Observation Deck at Perth Airport – Fri 1 May 2015.
Flanked by two Emirates Flight Attendants, are Darren Tyrell – Emirates Regional Manager, WA; Rob Gurney – Emirates Divisional Vice President Commercial Operations, Australia; Captain Steve Darnell – Emirates A380 pilot, who flew the inaugural service; the Hon. Dr Kim Hames MLA – Minister for Tourism; and Brad Geatches – CEO of Perth Airport.
Photo © David Eyre

A6-EOE Airbus A380-861 (MSN 169) of Emirates, at Perth Airport - Fri 1 May 2015. First scheduled service to Perth by an A380. Purser (in dark uniform) showing the First Class Suite on the forward part of the upper deck, and a typical meal on Royal Doulton bone china plates with Robert Welch cutlery. Photo © David Eyre

A6-EOE Airbus A380-861 (MSN 169) of Emirates, at Perth Airport – Fri 1 May 2015.
First scheduled service to Perth by an A380. Purser (in dark uniform) showing the First Class Suite on the forward part of the upper deck, and a typical meal on Royal Doulton bone china plates with Robert Welch cutlery.
Photo © David Eyre

1 May 2015 © David Eyre

Hundreds of spectators gathered at Perth Airport on 1 May 2015, to witness the sunset arrival of the first scheduled Emirates Airbus A380 service to Perth.

The first service was operated by a 9-month old Airbus A380-861, registered A6-EOE, the 169th A380 built.

The A380 landed on Perth’s runway 21 at 5:29pm Perth Time, after a flight time of 9 hours 56 minutes from Dubai.

Welcomed with a traditional water cannon salute by airport fire crews, flight EK420 parked at the special dual-aerobridge gate at Bay 51. The return flight EK421 took off from runway 21 at 10:21pm. After a flight of 10 hours 36 minutes, it landed at Dubai at 4:57am local time (8:57am Perth time).

AviationWA was invited to attend the reception ceremony and had a look aboard the A380. See our photos, the official Emirates video and a Google Street View of the A380.

C-FTGX Douglas DC-3C (MSN 25769) of Bell Geospace at Perth Airport – 22 April 2015.On finals for runway 24 at 5:36 pm just as the sun was setting.

C-FTGX Douglas DC-3C (MSN 25769) of Bell Geospace at Perth Airport – 22 April 2015.On finals for runway 24 at 5:36 pm just as the sun was setting.
Photo © Keith Anderson.

30 April 2015 © David Eyre

On 22 April 2015, a special visitor arrived in Perth for a two-week geophysical survey contract.

The aircraft, registered in Canada as C-FTGX, was built in 1944 as a military version of the DC-3.

In August 2010, it was converted by Basler Turbo Conversions at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to a Basler Turbo BT-6, and modified for survey work by Bell Geospace.

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