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.
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.”
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.
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