Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer responsible for some excellent short haul aircraft. In fact, my very first flight was on a Fokker F28-4000 so you could say the Dutch have a lot to answer for when it comes to my love of flying.
KLM recently retired their last one, ending 97 years of continuous operation of aircraft from the manufacturer. A country very far away from the Netherlands is now Fokker heaven which is quite unexpected.
Australia’s economy relies quite a bit on mining and many of these are in remote areas. The mines contract airlines on FIFO contracts, which stands for fly in, fly out to rotate workers. Alliance Airlines is a main player in this market.
Jet services are operated by a fleet of 18 Fokker 100 aircraft and 9 of the Fokker 70. In addition, the turboprop Fokker 50 is also operated and they have 5 of these. Interestingly, there are 9, 7 and 1 of each aircraft in storage which means they are probably used for parts or against future requirements.
Fokker Aircraft at QantasLink
Over in Western Australia, Network Aviation also have a fleet of Fokker 100s. These again operate on FIFO contracts for the most part, but there’s a twist. Qantas purchased the airline in 2011 which means some of the aircraft now work for QantasLink.
Looks amazing in the new Qantas colours, right? The fleet is not quite as large as that operated by Alliance Airlines however they still have a respectable 17 aircraft in the fleet.
Virgin Australia Regional
Just when you thought the story had ended, there are even more. Virgin Australia purchased regional carrier Skywest from 2013 and you guessed it, they also operate the plane.
With a fleet of 14 aircraft, they also do FIFO charters for the mining industry as well as operating some regional routes in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
The Fokker 100 first flew in 1986 and entered service in 1988 which is quite a while ago. Production ended in 1997 which means even the youngest aircraft would be over twenty years old.
There are 58 aircraft in Australia out of 283 that were built which has to be some kind of record. Hopefully the Fokker story will continue down under for many years to come.
Have you flown on any of these aircraft? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Phil Vabre via Airliners.net.
QantasLink and Virgin Australia by Bidgee via Wikimedia Commons.
Fokker 50 by Chris Finney Contrabandit Photos via Airliners.net.