Cobham returns Embraer E190 to lessor

VH-NJA was used to fly between Perth and Barrow Island. (Rob Finlayson)

Embraer has lost another airline operator in Australia with Cobham Aviation Services confirming it has parted company with its E190 regional jet after three years of operations.

The aircraft, VH-NJA, left Australia for Europe via Indonesia on February 24, and landed in the Polish capital Warsaw on February 27.

Cobham Aviation Services said VH-NJA had been returned to its lessor.

The Australian arm of British aerospace and defence group Cobham plc acquired the 104-seat aircraft in November 2014 to service a $160 million, five-year extension of its contract with petroleum giant Chevron for its Gorgon project off north-west WA.

At the time, the company cited the E190’s speed, fuel efficiency and four-abreast seating as being among “many benefits” of the twin jet, which operated fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) services for Chevron between Perth and Barrow Island.

The contract with Chevron is now being serviced by RJ100s.

This YouTube video by sivideo aviation shows the now-departed E190 landing at Perth Airport earlier this year.

The E190, built in 2010, had been operated by Munich-based German airline Augsburg Airways, which provided regional services for Lufthansa to 36 destinations,

However, in 2013 Lufthansa terminated its contract with Augsburg which consequently closed down on October 31, 2013.

On March 1, Cobham plc chief executive David Lockwood said the Chevron contract extension involved “a lower rate of flying activity”.

It is believed the Embraer aircraft is going to BA CityFlyer for services from London City Airport.

Meanwhile in February Virgin Australia withdrew the last of its 18 E190s.

E190 VH-ZPH taxis at Brisbane after operating the type’s last revenue flight with Virgin Australia. (James Baxter)
E190 VH-ZPH taxis at Brisbane after operating the type’s last revenue flight with Virgin Australia. (James Baxter)

However, Australia looks set to gain a new E190 operator later in 2018 when regional carrier Jetgo commences flights from Brisbane to Singapore via Karratha.

In February, the City of Karratha said Jetgo planned to use the E190 for the new route.

Jetgo had initially opted for the smaller E175 for the new route when it was announced in December.

However, the City of Karratha said the E190 would enable Jetgo to operate Brisbane-Karratha nonstop, compared with the E175 which would require a refuelling stop in Alice Springs.

“The larger aircraft type comes with higher specification for passengers and additional seating capacity as well as a reduction in flight times between destinations, further improving the experience we can offer passengers,” City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said in a statement.

The City of Karratha said it was aiming to have Brisbane-Karratha flights start in June, with Karratha-Singapore services underway by September.

“The implementation of a domestic and international leg out of Karratha Airport is a very exciting opportunity for our economy and Council is looking forward to seeing these flights get off the ground this year,” Cr Long said.

“While the commencement dates are subject to regulatory approvals, we are working with Jetgo to ensure that this process is as smooth as possible and that the new services meet all industry requirements.

“Jetgo and the City will release flight schedules and pricing once regulatory approvals have been gained.”

An artist's impression of an Embraer E175 in Jetgo livery. (Jetgo)
An artist’s impression of an Embraer E175 in Jetgo livery. The airline now plans to operate the large E190. (Jetgo)

The City of Karratha said terminal modifications at Karratha Airport needed for international flights to commence were due to be completed by August 2018.

Currently, Karratha only has nonstop RPT services to Perth. Figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) showed the airport handled 464,000 passengers in 2016/17, down 16.7 per cent from 556,800 passengers in the prior year.

The city of about 20,000 residents is a centre for a number of iron ore and natural gas projects among some of the world’s biggest resources companies.

Comments

  1. Dan says

    Brisbane to Karratha with a population of 17,000 people to Singapore really ????.
    Jetgo are you sure this is a wise move? Don’t over expand or its Tamair Mk2.

  2. w says

    I believe Jetgo shouldn’t start international flights (yet). They should use the E190s on their high density routes like ABX-BNE or long routes like BNE-Melbourne there for cutting out a lay over.

  3. Ian Morris says

    Brisbane to Karratha with the E190 just about makes sense I guess for FIFO workers from Queensland – although how they get from Karratha to minesites might be an issue if they don’t work in Karratha itself. However, Karratha to Singapore makes little sense at all. A declining permanent population around 22,000 hardly suggests a huge demand for flights to Singapore, let alone with an E190. The loss of the Cobham E190 sucks though for enthusiasts in Perth.

  4. Lechuga says

    Personally would like to see JetGo run a combination of E-175s and E-190s.

    They could be one of the only real Airlines using Essendon and use it to their advantage.
    I know they currently run a couple E-140s out of there. There’s plenty of places around Aus they could go, but as an example I’d say they could go MEB- MLQ, ABX, BWT, DPO, LST, HBA, NTL, WOL etc.

    I’m not suggesting all of them, I’m just saying they could rival a couple bigger airlines if they made a base out of it after the redevelopment. It could really work.

  5. AlanH says

    And add CBR to that mix, since Virgin have now pulled the E190s out of that connection. A number of regional towns linked to the national capital by E190s might well be the go … Jetgo?

  6. Chris Forward says

    hi all,

    Id like to see the Jetgo E190 on the HBA to to PER and Hba to AKL routes.. Great aircraft, for these 2 routes.
    Shame Virgin got rid of their aircraft. They would have made a great aircraft/service on these 2 routes.
    Go Jetgo, Go..

  7. AlanH says

    And further on the Canberra connection, it now offers the option of transfers to two international destinations – Singapore and Qatar – without the hassle of getting through Customs in the major cities. Might be a further drawcard for regional pax.