Changing of the guard at Cobham as Q400 takes to South Australian skies
Adelaide, Australia – Cobham Regional Services has concluded its transition to a modern, low carbon, flexible charter fleet with its last Avro RJ100 FIFO flight touching down in Adelaide at 5:45pm on Friday, 3 June. This major milestone was marked with a water cannon salute for “VH-NJE” to farewell this much-loved icon of Australian skies.
After 32 years of operating BAe 146 and Avro RJ aircraft for FIFO and charter flights in South Australia, Cobham has retired the fleet from passenger services, heralding a new era with the introduction of the De Havilland Q400 turboprop.
Cobham Regional Services Managing Director Claude Alviani said the BAe 146 and RJ aircraft had been workhorses of regional aviation, particularly in South Australia and Western Australia, for many years.
“They’ve had a significant impact on our national aviation history – whether it be FIFO flights, regular passenger transport (RPT) services with Australian Airlink and later QantasLink, or charter services across Australia and even overseas,” Mr Alviani said.
“We thank all of our employees, clients and partners – past and present – who have operated and supported these aircraft throughout their lifetime with Cobham.”
With the retirement of the BAe 146 and RJ in South Australia, Cobham introduces the Q400, which commences services on Cobham’s charter routes to Port Augusta, Prominent Hill and Carrapateena from Monday, 6 June.
“We’re thrilled to this week introduce the Q400 in South Australia – an aircraft known for its jet-like speed, outstanding airfield performance, and enhanced operational reliability,” Mr Alviani said.
“The Q400 turboprop has the lowest fuel consumption per passenger seat of any turboprop in the industry. It offers a 30% reduction in fuel burn compared with competing regional jets, radically reducing carbon emissions.”
As a critical link in the energy and resource sector, Cobham has been investing in the future of FIFO by progressively renewing its fleet with modern aircraft that offer a better passenger experience and greater benefits to the environment. The E190 jet and Q400 turboprop provide greater flexibility of rosters, suitability for regional aerodromes, increased reliability, and low carbon emissions.