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Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to write a full blog post, but that doesn't mean it's not covered. Often its covered on the NZ Aviation Notes Facebook page.

Monday, March 30, 2015

VA Stat bite

Some readers may be interested in this Virgin Australia 'Stat bite' post looking at Virgin Australia International flights today.

Monday 30-March-2015

Total International Sectors Flown: 55
Trans Pacific Sectors: 4
Trans Tasman Sectors: 25
South East Asian Sectors: 13
South Pacific Sectors: 13

Aircraft Types Used: 2
Boeing 777-3ZG(ER)s Used: 4
Boeing 737-8FEs Used: 18
Boeing 737s with Boeing Sky Interior Used: 17

Excluding the PER-HKT-PER sectors today was the first day in a while that domestic or ex ZK aircraft haven't featured somewhere on the Bali/Trans Tasman/Pacific Island sectors.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What is Nyepi Day? And why are there no flights?

Today is Nyepi the Balinese 'Day of Silence' which is celebrated as part of Isakawarsa with tomorrow being Balinese New Years Day.  Although a Hindu festival, Nyepi is observed by all in Bali, a description of it follows
Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection, and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and, for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali's usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.  Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents of Bali observe the day of silence as well, out of respect for their fellow citizens. Even tourists are not exempt; although free to do as they wish inside their hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets, and the only airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day. The only exceptions granted are for emergency vehicles carrying those with life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.
This effects the following flights to/from Australia today/tomorrow morning

JQ - Jetstar
VA - Virgin Australia
GA - Garuda Indonesia
QZ - Indonesia AirAsia
320 - Airbus A320
73H - Boeing 737-8FE(W)
333 - Airbus A330-300
332 - Airbus A330-200
100 - Fokker F100
788 - Boeing 787-8

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Final ex VA(NZ) frame returns to service

The final first flight happened today with VH-VUQ ex ZK-PBL operating this morning,  Wednesday 18-March-2015, VA308 BNE-MEL.

This brings to the end the transition of the former VA(NZ) fleet back into VA International.

To date the following ex ZK aircraft have operated international routes
All have seen domestic Australian service however just VH-VOR and VH-VUB have graced New Zealand/South Pacific skies again, with VH-VOO & VH-VOP operating only on international services to Bali.

Meanwhile as noted in THIS post - VH-YID now wearing full Virgin Samoa colours has hopped around the network operating Trans-Tasman, to Fiji, domestically in Australia, on FIFO flights in WA and to Denpasar from Perth.

2015 Comings and Goings to date

The first two and a half months have seen quite a few changes to the New Zealand & Australian aircraft registers in terms of passenger aircraft.  Here is a look at some other the comings and goings.

Air New Zealand had a net gain of two aircraft in the period welcoming the following 3 arrivals;
ZK-MVF ATR 72-600 registered 14-January-2015
ZK-OXG Airbus A320 registered 20-February-2015
ZK-OXH Airbus A320 registered 27-February-2015

This was offset by the departure of a Boeing 737-33A
ZK-NGP Boeing 733 deregistered 16-March-2015 exported to storage awaiting its future

As per my previous posts between 30-January-2015 and 14-March-2015 Virgin Australia returned their fleet of 10 Boeing 737-8FE aircraft to the Australian register - see HERE for more. 
Virgin Australia also received one new build Boeing during this time
VH-YIY Boeing 738 registered 5-February-2015

Airwork Flight Operations Limited who are the preferred contractor to Toll Freight in Australia farewelled one of their Boeing 737 Freighters
ZK-TLF Boeing 734 deregistered 10-March-2015 and exported to unknown whereabouts

As mentioned in THIS post last year, Vincent Aviation unfortunately went into receivership in October-2014.  Their fleet has begun to move on.
ZK-ECO BAe 146 re-registered to ANCL Investments Ltd 12-March-15 but took effect on 5-October-2014 - despite leaving the country this aircraft remains on the New Zealand register.
ZK-VAB Beech 1900D deregistered 25-February-2015 exported unknown future
ZK-VAH Jetstream 32 deregistered 18-March-2015 exported unknown future
ZK-JSH & ZK-LFW Jetstream 31 re-registered on 9-March-2015 but took effect on 17-October-2014 to Air Freight NZ Ltd

This leaves just Jetstream 32 ZK-VAI as the remaining passenger aircraft owned by Vincent Aviation on the New Zealand register.

Alliance Airlines added one frame during the period
VH-NKU Fokker F28Mk70 (F70) registered 17-February-2015

Qantas saw 3 of their previously departed aircraft leave the Australian register during the period, all three were exported to the USA where they will be prepared for their new owners.
VH-OGJ Boeing 767-338 deregistered 19-January-2015 to C-FOGJ with WestJet in Canada
VH-OGN Boeing 767-338 deregistered 6-March-2015 to WestJet in Canada
VH-TJS Boeing 737-438 deregistered 30-January-2015 due to return to the region with Airwork NZ

There were two changes for Jetstar during the period with two aircraft leaving their fleet
VH-VQB Airbus A320 deregistered 20-January-2015 exported to Mexico as XA-VAH with VivaAeroBus
VH-EBJ Airbus A332 transferred to Qantas 13-March-2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pacific disruptions due to TC Pam

TC Pam seen covering New Caledonia and Vanuatu
There are disruptions to flights across the South Pacific today with tropical cyclone Pam effecting flights into New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Air New Zealand has postponed flight NZ782 AKL-NOU for over 32hrs, the flight was scheduled to depart Auckland this morning Saturday 14-March-2015 at 10.05NZDT but will now depart tomorrow Sunday 15-March-2015 at 18:15NZDT.
It is not yet know if flight NZ788 AKL-VLI scheduled for 09:40NZDT tomorrow will be delayed or cancelled as the cyclone tracks south.

Virgin Australia have postponed flight VA171 BNE-VLI from 10:30AEST today to 10:40AEST tomorrow.

Qantas have postponed flight QF87 BNE-NOU from 10:00AEST today until 09:30AEST tomorrow, meanwhile QF91 SYD-NOU has been cancelled.

Air Vanuatu have cancelled both their flights today NF50/51 VLI-AKL-VLI and NF10/11 VLI-SYD-VLI

Meanwhile Aircalin have launched both their flights today with A320 F-OJSB departing NOU for MEL as SB110 and A330 F-OHSD departing NOU for NRT as SB800, it appears that both return flights will operate delayed.  SB111 MEL-NOU delayed from 14:20AEDT to 08:00AEDT while SB801 NRT-NOU will delay from 12:15JST to 19:15JST

VA(NZ) the (visible) end

The final New Zealand registered Virgin Australia aircraft ZK-PBL finished up last night Friday 13-March-2015 as VA161 AKL-BNE, bringing a visible end to VA(NZ).  

VA(NZ) will no doubt still have paperwork to complete and staff to transition across to VAI before it hands in its AOC but the visible face the 10 ZK registered aircraft have returned to Australia.

ZK-PBL will return to her previous Aussie registration VH-VUQ

VH-VUP ex ZK-PBK re-entered service today Saturday 14-March-2015 as VA607 BNE-MKY, while newly Virgin Samoa branded VH-YID operated this morning Saturday 14-March-2015 as VA152 BNE-AKL

Pacific Blue/Virgin Australia (NZ) commenced flying in 2004 between its home base of Christchurch and Brisbane a flight that continues daily to this date.  In 2007 it announced it would enter the New Zealand domestic market and indeed flew between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin from November-2007 to October-2010.

With the withdrawal of ZK-PBL the New Zealand register connection ends after 11 years of aircraft on the New Zealand register. 23/01/04 - 14/03/15

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

And the winner is.......

And the winner is ZK-PBL the final VA(NZ) bird

Boeing 737-8FE ZK-PBK flew her final flights as VA171/170 BNE-VLI-BNE on Monday 09-March-2015 before entering the Virgin Australia hanger.  She was struck from the New Zealand register today Tuesday 10-March-2015 and will enter the Australian register as VH-VUP.

VH-VOR ex PBF at time of writing has not entered service but will no longer carry the Virgin Samoa titles.  ***UPDATE*** VH-VOR operated her first flight as VA1384 BNE-ADL today Tuesday 10-March-2015

VH-YID flew from Brisbane to Townsville on Tuesday 03-March-2015 as VA9939 where she entered the paint hanger and was given the Virgin Samoa titles and Tupu'itea name.  Unlike PBF she does not sport the tribal colour band on the engines.  She returned to Brisbane as VA9938 on Sunday 08-March-2015 and at time of writing has not flown since.
VH-VOR/ZK-PBF arriving at AKL in the old Polynesian Blue colour scheme ©nzompilot

Another first for Virgin Australia goes to VH-VUB ex ZK-PBJ which takes the honour of the first ex ZK bird to return to New Zealand.  VH-VUB operated VA160 BNE-AKL on Monday 09-March-2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Then There Were two

Thursday 05-March-2015 saw Virgin Samoa branded Boeing 737-8FE ZK-PBF operate her final flight on the New Zealand register flying VA161 AKL-BNE.  Upon completion she was towed across the airport and entered the Virgin Australia hanger for business class upgrade and entry to the Australian register.  She will take up VH-VOR.

Meanwhile VH-VUH ex ZK-PBI re-entered Virgin Australia service on Tuesday 3-March-2015 as VA773 Brisbane to Cairns

VH-VUD ex ZK-PBG re-entered Virgin Australia service today Friday 06-March-2015 as VA304 Brisbane to Melbourne

Monday, March 2, 2015

Air New Zealand's latest A320 arrives home

The latest A320 for Air New Zealand ZK-OXH arrives into Christchurch tonight Monday 02-March-2015 as NZ6397 from CNS at the end of its ferry flight from Airbus in Toulouse.

As they were built to fly domestic flights only, these Airbus A320 fleet are not equipped with HF radios so like its predecessors ZK-OXH has had to fly the CNS-CHC leg in company with another Air New Zealand flight so it can keep in communication over the Tasman Sea.

As the below Flight Radar 24 screenshot shows ZK-OXH is flying across the Tasman in company with scheduled BNE-CHC flight NZ804 ZK-OJF

FlightRadar24 screen shot of A320 ZK-OXH as NZ6397 in company with NZ804 off the Northern New South Wales Coast

Click HERE for photos of ZK-OXH in Cairns over at fellow blog YBCS Plane Spotting

Into The Final Countdown

VA(NZ) has entered the final countdown with just 3 frames remaining on the New Zealand register.

ZK-PBG operated its final service as VA161 AKL-BNE Sunday 01-March-2015 before entering the Brisbane hanger for her business class upgrade and entry to the Australian register as VH-VUD. She was struck from the New Zealand register today Monday 02-March-2015.

ZK-PBG arriving into a stormy AKL in 2007 ©nzompilot

At time of writing VH-VUH ex ZK-PBI had not yet re-entered Virgin Australia service.

Meanwhile despite having flown Business Class equipped aircraft on various Tasman routes for most of the past month, Virgin Australia officially launched Business Class across the Tasman with VA144 SYD-AKL on Saturday 28-February-2015.  From this date all SYD-AKL flights will offer business class.  The 3 remaining ZK registered aircraft will continue to operate but will not operate on SYD-AKL.  Currently PBL is operating out of BNE, PBF on AKL-MEL and AKL-PI services and PBK is on SYD-NAN and SYD-CHC routes.

Read more about the Business Class offering on Tasman services via HERE
Australian Aviation HERE

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