17 February 2012 © David Eyre
Alliance Airlines has placed into service a leased Boeing 737-476, registration ZK-JTQ (cn 24442/2372).
The aircraft is on a six-month wet-lease from New Zealand company Airwork, whilst Alliance conducts heavy maintenance on its Fokker 100 aircraft. It bears an inscription just behind the forward cabin door “Operated by Airwork Flight Operations Ltd”.
The Boeing 737 is being operated on a twice daily service between Perth and Karratha, which commenced on 14 February 2012. The schedule is as follows:
- QQ731 dep PER 05:30 / QQ732 arr PER 10:30
- QQ737 dep PER 14:45 / QQ738 arr PER 19:30
It is reported that after this lease, the aircraft will undergo conversion to freighter configuration to operate for Toll Priority. Airwork also operates the Toll Priority Boeing 737-300SF freighters which operate from Perth.
History of ZK-JTQ:
The aircraft was originally ordered new by Australian Airlines (formerly Trans Australian Airlines – TAA) and made its first flight at Seattle as VH-TJQ on 21 September 1992. The aircraft was delivered to Australia Airlines in Melbourne on 8-10 October 1992. The aircraft was named “Bellbird”, and entered service the same month. Australian Airlines merged with Qantas in October 1993, and the aircraft was later repainted in Qantas colours. It operated its final service with Qantas on 2 May 2006.
VH-TJQ was transferred to Qantas Jetconnect in New Zealand and registered as ZK-JTQ on 21 June 2006. It was delivered on 22 June 2006 to Jetconnect in Christchurch, and operated its first service the following day. It operated its final New Zealand domestic service on 9 June 2009, and then operated its final revenue flight with Qantas on 15 November 2011, and was placed in storage at Auckland in basic Qantas livery, still registered as ZK-JTQ.
ZK-JTQ was registered to Airwork (NZ) on 20 December 2011, and in late January 2012, the aircraft was moved out of storage to Airwork’s hangar to prepare for its return to service. On 6 February 2012, it was rolled out in Alliance Airlines basic colours, minus the tail insignia, which was added later. ZK-JTQ then departed from Auckland on 10 February 2012 to Alliance Airlines base in Brisbane, using the callsign “Airwork 1”. The aircraft then departed Brisbane on 13 February 2012 to Perth, via Adelaide and Kalgoorlie, arriving in Perth the same day – again using the callsign ‘Airwork 1’.