tip off
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Virgin on the unfaithful for frequent Queensland flyers

Alliance Airlines F100, Wikipedia Commons image copyrighted to Phil Vabre

Readers have drawn attention to the irony of a number of the new Virgin Australia services in Queensland being provided by Alliance Airlines, an independently owned airline which is a major player in the resources industry FIFO or fly in-fly out market.

Alliance clients include Qantas, for whom it also operates scheduled services.

As one reader points out:

Alliance Airlines, while simultaneously providing wet lease services to Qantas, on some of the same routes, will operate DJ flights between BNE-ROK (2x daily) BNE-PPP (daily) BNE-CNS (daily).

Amusingly on the Rocky route a passenger may have the choice of a Virgin flight operated by Alliance in a Fokker 100, and a Qantaslink flight operated by Alliance in a Fokker 100 less than an hour apart.

There has been little to no announcement publicly or to VA staff (that I’m aware of) explaining this move, a stranger one than the Skywest wet lease, as VA operates its own fleet of 100 seat jets.

Alliance mainly operates Fokker F100 jets, the quietest and largest twin engined jet made by the now defunct Fokker enterprise in the Netherlands, which also made the famous Fokker Friendship high wing turbo-prop that became the prime mover in Australian regional flying throughout the 60s and 70s.

A ride in an F100, whether on behalf of Virgin Australia or Qantas, is probably the most pleasant way to fly a regional route other than in an Embraer E-190.

Memo Virgin Australia. More E-jets, please.

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  • 1
    Chad Henshaw
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Same Equipment on flights, similar departure times, business class.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Ansett never left…

  • 2
    mrsynik
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone noticed how similar their logo is to the old BOAC logo?

  • 3
    TomTom
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand what the issue is – what’s the irony? These airlines are engaging in what is a common practice here and elsewhere.

  • 4
    Kapo
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    It’s pretty shrewd being able to make non-exclusive operating agreements, Westjet in Canada comes to mind.

  • 5
    2353
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Really the only difference between Alliance and some US based carriers that fly for Delta and United at the same time is they don’t paint some of their fleet in Qantas and now Virgin livery. From experience the Alliance F100′s are a lovely ride with great crews and beat the pants of a Q400 (the Qantas alternative) without even trying. The F100 vs a E190 would be a much more even comparison.

  • 6
    ghostwhowalksnz
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The F100 is of course 5 across seating , the E190 is 4 across.
    Worst flight ever I had was a 5 across TAA DC9 Brisbane to Melbourne direct, no cabin food service due to ‘an industrial dispute’ and the rear engines obviously not synchronised.

  • 7
    erikhb
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Having flown on the F100 (as well as the F70) quite regularly on KLM flights between Bergen and Amsterdam, I agree that they are quite comfortable aircraft. I’d actually prefer that to a B737, but of course that may vary from airline to airline.

  • 8
    Matt Hardin
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Flew in an Air Nuiguinea F100 Port Moresby to Lae tend back. Just great, so quiet. A marvellous aircraft.

  • 9
    alangirvan01
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    If you read some of the gossip columns you will see that some Fokker people in Europe have been trying for years to d a Fokker 100NG. They seem to have got to the stage of doing a prototype, with some sections to be built in Brazil – competition for Embraer.

    It will be interesting to see if a straight re -engining will produce a plane that will be competitive against any new model Embraers (it is expected that Embraer will re engine the 190 and 195.) The Fokker 100s in Australia are mostly low utilisation planes, so they will probably not be replaced by new build Fokker 100 NGs with high capital costs. But, perhaps the NGs would be the right size and capability for some scheduled services in Australia?

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