View Full Version : Qantas Link to operate to Port Moresby ?

30th Jan 2003, 10:05
I have heard from a source within Qantas, that they are looking at operating a Dash 8 service from Cairns to Port Moresby. Anyone else heard anything about this?
Could be a workable option with the aging F-28's and there CASA dispo's to operate into Cairns. And also with the proposal of CASA refusing P2 registered aircraft into the Australian FIR. PNG only got a 3 month dispo for that, which starts on Saterday the 1 st of Feb, I believe.
What about the B717, anyone know if that would be a good machine to also maybe consider using on the sector in between CS and PY.

30th Jan 2003, 17:44
Please explain Virgin's no hope,more-so Maintenance (or lack of)

31st Jan 2003, 10:26
Nothing's impossible I guess but this is the first I've heard of it. I wouldn't have thought it'd be very likely because a Dash-8 can only take 36 pax on a sector that regularly sees over 50 pax on each flight - and often a completely full F28 load.

I don't know anything about the 717 but, if it can accommodate anwhere between 60 and 80 pax (or more), I'd reckon it's a far better option than a Dash. Remember that, if CASA proceeds with the ban on P2 registered aircraft, it will affect operators such as Airlines of PNG, Fubilan Air Service and Regional Air, not just Air Niugini. That would strand a great many pax, on a year-round basis, which tends to suggest that a Dash-8 would be the least appropriate aircraft for the route.

I await developments with great (and vested :D ) interest

31st Jan 2003, 10:40
With 767's and 'low costs', is it beyond the realms of possibility that Australian may pick this little cherry?

31st Jan 2003, 13:46
The B717 is a good bet to fill this little niche market.
With the gradual witdrawal (by Qantas) of the Bae146 from the Eastern Australian skies it would seem a logical progression, if considered against the inability of PX to continue operating.

31st Jan 2003, 20:05

Qantaslink (Sunstate) operate DH8-300s (50seats) in their fleet

31st Jan 2003, 22:37
Well... I think we have all heard this before, but I think it's important to realise that the action has come about because of a lack of safety audit procedures at PNG airfields and oversight procedures, and not as a result of anything dodgy about PX. (Or anyone else for that matter) The end result would be the same though, cessation of all PNG/Oz vv flights, except that the PNG Government would have to agree to let whoever wan't to fly into PNG (POM or elsewhere) have the fly in/out rights. And if Australia wants their bat an ball back now, it might not be too easy to get the authority. (If I can't have it, then you can't either.!!)
My money is on this all being sorted at the last minute, and CASA getting what they wanted in the first place ..... improved standards all round at PNG airfields. What do you reckon Ozex.??

Pinky the pilot
31st Jan 2003, 22:38
Ozmate; You almost sounded as if you were starting to salivate there. :D

3rd Feb 2003, 13:04
"and not as a result of anything dodgy about PX. "

I must have missed something here. Just about every post relating to PX in the last couple of years positively reeeeeeeeks of dodgy.

Has something changed?

4th Feb 2003, 07:26
clearone... yes, fine, but next to no baggage allowance for the pax. That wouldn't go down too well on any international flight. :eek:

Td... I'd like to think you're right mate but, if we can't get the funds to do the job, nothin will change. I'm yet to see any evidence of the funding needed for the job. As things stand, the only airport I can inspect is AYPY because there's no money to travel anywhere else in the country. :(

Pinky... anything that's likely to interfere with my occasional, essential "escape" to Cairns gets my attention right away! :D

fisty... on this issue, Taildragger is correct.

Eastwest Loco
4th Feb 2003, 09:12
One would think the CNSPOM sector would be a goldmine for Northbound cargo, even handling overflow moved on domestic flights from Southern ports to CNS and onforwarded so therefore:

DH8-100/200 series - marginal and little or no cargo capacity above baggage.

DH3 - Multiply the problem by 4 and just load the Captains lunch.

B717 - Tas Melb routes are offloading baggage like there in no tomorrow and cargo is not a consideration with any kind of holding.

142- Possible, as cavernous holds. MLW the first problem that springs to mind with holding and alternates.

143 - Also possible, but multiply your MLW problem. ZFW problems with full load and centre wing tanks full if fitted.

B733 - Now we are talking. Fairly bulletproof aeroplane and this is my call for the route. Capacity, range, weight performance and nice big holds.

Just one groundhogs view of the situation.

Please feel free to pull these suggestions to pieces at your leisure, as I will be interested to see if I am close to the mark.

Best regards


4th Feb 2003, 11:32

I am surprise to hear the B717 is offloading baggage on the tassie - mel route.

Is this a recent trend or an ongoing problem?

I would have thought the 717 would do the Cns-Pom sector with ease.

Eastwest Loco
4th Feb 2003, 11:45

from what I can gather it is a MLW problem, rather than space. There is a hell of an uproar from the live seafood market here at being unable to get product shipped at peak traffic times. The baggage uplift limits seem to bite hardest when destination WX is marginal and alternates have to be carried.

It is a surprise to me too, but feel it is a flow on from the el-cheapo certification Gerry Gee got on the aeroplanes in the first place. I believe QF link have spent a lot of money having them recertified for heavier MLW but they cannot have gone the whole hog, as problems still seem to be appearing.

The 717 is a fine lady, and has great passenger appeal, but every aeroplane has its limitations.

I would be pleased to get an update from 717 crews on their experience, as I am dealing from a short deck here.

Best all


4th Feb 2003, 12:02
EW Loco

Never a problem. Never seen or heard of baggage being off loaded.

Douglas Mcdonnell
4th Feb 2003, 21:51
E W Loco. I have never seen baggage off loaded anywhere in the 717 network. Especially not between ML and HBA. I really think you need to be in the seat plugging the figures into the fms before you are qualified to comment

4th Feb 2003, 23:11
the freight isn't off loaded, it just doesn't get put on at all, thats why the crew don't here about it.

4th Feb 2003, 23:22
OK - so I am an expert on galley space, not cargo space.... The QF Inflight magazine lists the cargo space on a 717 as being more then a 733. Of course it isn't exactly a technical publication :) but that's what I read. Please don't flame me for the above comment - I normally just do the coffee....

I asked a CSA at HBA if he had heard of luggage/freight being offloaded on the 717 and he said no too.

Actually I do remember the tech crew talking about a problem with weights when we first started working with QF. Didn't they fix that? Wasn't it all just a 'numbers on paper' thing?

Eastwest Loco
5th Feb 2003, 06:31
Interesting Doug and thumpa

News down here (particularly in HBA) has been harping on BB and freight probs. One of my main points was that freight pays better than cargo on international runs as it is on a set formula in general, and not like the domestic discounted market on "backloading" routes like Tas to North Island.

Point is taken re BB offloads, however in most cases the flight deck crew would not be aware of an offload, as if you are presented with an aeroplane in trim and within weight parameters then you dont need to know.

Initial problems were apparently due to a paper only problem, and nothing to do with the aeroplane.

SLF appeal is very high on the 717 - have nver heard a bad word about the girl.

Lets face it, it is a DC9 and they were a beaut aeroplane to ride in too.

best all


Loco's Smoko
5th Feb 2003, 06:36
When impulse first started flying for qantaslink there were problems with offloads of freight and bags this was as ditzy boy said only a paperwork issue and once the MLW was raised (as well as the BRW slightly) that solved the problem and there are now usually only offloads of freight when there are extreme numbers of bags (by that i mean above 190 bags on a flight)
and the offload is more likely due to volume than weight.

In addition to that We also have 6 HGW B717 which are never limited by weight and have an available payload which is notably higher than that of a B7373.


We are still taking a S*#tload of Seafood out of Tassie each day
so maybe what you were referring to was when we first started with qlink.

5th Feb 2003, 07:22
Getting back to SHAGGS' initial post for a moment, if we assume for a moment that there are thoughts of using Dash-8 type aircraft, the rationale may be quite different to what we've been talking about so far.

I posed myself the question... why MIGHT they consider using such an aircraft on the CNS-POM route?

The only answer I came up with is that all the other types are too fully occupied on their current schedules. Thus, there may not be enough "fat" in the schedule to release a 737, or even a 717, to operate the service. Implicit in this thnking is that there would have to be a considerable amount of "fat" in the Dash-8 fleet's current schedules because of the longer flight time required on the route.

That could be offset against faster turn-around times because of the more limited load that a Dash-8 can take. The problem here is that, when they do the sums and assess the pax, baggage and freight traffic on the route, they'll undoubtedly find that the numbers won't work out without using 2 Dash-8s and/or increasing the frequency of the flights.

It starts to look like pie in the sky stuff to me, but there may be one other reason that might make a Dash-8 operation attractive to Qantas. The aircraft is extremely flexible for take-off and landing - and there isn't the same imperative for airport and terminal facilities as would be needed for a 737 or 717. In light of the threat from CASA against PNG-based AOC holders, Qantas might believe that the whole issue will come down to a compromise that may not be very satisfactory for the operation of larger aircraft.

Thus, I suspect that, if there really has been any such consideration within Qantas, it's probably just one of several scenarios that they're looking at. I'm sure that they don't want to lose the route completely - it's been a gold mine for them, over the years, even with just the codeshare service on Pixie's F28s.

But, as always, I continue to await developments with (vested) interest! :D

Eastwest Loco
5th Feb 2003, 08:18

Obviously there is a great deal more seafood than space and the shippers must not be willing to pay the bigger bucks for a dedicated freighter.

I guess if you have 2 tonnes of available space, and 4 tonnes of little red fellas, half miss out.

Mind you, these reports are via the Media - which is about as reliable as a Russian turbine down here.

Best regards


5th Feb 2003, 08:34

Remember many moons ago that TAA operated F27 MK11 Cns-Pom without any problems why would it be any different to DH8-300

Eastwest Loco
5th Feb 2003, 09:50

TN F27-200s had 444kg max rear locker that could take up to 25 standard sized bags and 1100kg (from memory in FLh and FRH lockers in 36 seat config with rear galley.

That is nearly double a DH8 or DH3.

Off a decent runway with a 16.5 wet setting, maximum BRW should not have been a factor and MLW was seldom a factor on even shorter sectors.

Ex here the DH8 staggered until the introduction Eastern regime of calculating psgr weight as male female child and infant (which is a totally legitimate and safe system) with a full load and full baggage. A blast from the past - having to weigh all passengers and baggage on an F27-100 and sitting on the wing to get from 780 gals to 810 when MEL weather was bad.

The Dash is a modern day attempt to emulate a perfect 1930's design, and it does do a good job, but it will never be as solid and reliable an aeroplane as the F27, just as the F27 was a step up from the DC3 it was designed to emulate and replace.

Faster - higher - more efficient sure, but still lacks a lot of the finesse and solid comfort of the predecessor.

Trade offs such as baggage/freight space have been spawned by the Euro/American market who can send anything quickly and efficiently by road, and have introduced baby commuters like the "Jungle Jets" from Embraeir and the CRJ. Basic short haul commuters that have no place in the wide brown land. I am sure you have all looked at a CRJ up close at some time - checked the baggage hold?? Simply a very large Bizjet with baggage space to match, and as for the DH4, you have to wonder about a 70 turbo prop. I dont know the stats, but hope they have finally stretched the baggage compartment.

Your call is good clearone - lets refurb a fleet of F27s and go for it. I want to sign the first one out!!!:D I still have my loco certificate.

Best all


6th Feb 2003, 07:37
Don't think I can add anything to what Loco said. F27 and DHC8 are a "chalk and cheese" comparison. It probably also has to be said that times were significantly different in the F27 heydey.

How's it Hanging
6th Feb 2003, 21:39
DH3's are just like 717's in that it depends on what version you get.
For Eastern/Sunstate weights, ie OW around 12300, MZFW 17917, MTOW 19505, you could take 50 pax all with 20 kg of bags from Cairns to Port Morseby, with about 400 kg to spare to MZFW, and still have just over an hours holding fuel.
And believe it or not you will fit 1000kg of bags in the back if the guys know how to load it. Have seen it up to the 1134kg limit when carrying sporting teams. Looks like aircraft about to sit on its tail when all the pax are out, but have not seen it happen yet!
Having a quick look at the numbers you would get about 30 minutes holding in a 100 on the same route but only about 10kg of bags per pax. In a 200 about 19kg per pax and 85 minutes holding fuel.
Down to Tassie you very rarely get a 200, so with 36 pax limited to about 10kg per pax (max 907kg if less pax).

PS. Sunstate will have a new 300 to use about mid year, but I thought it was to cover for heavy maintenance on other 300's.

Eastwest Loco
7th Feb 2003, 07:55
Yes Hanging

I believe 3 of the DH8s in the ex Southern fleet are 100 series with build numbers under 10 and that these have been sold off and are being replaced with 300s.

The girls have reached a venerable age now, and it is time they were let rest (or ply their trade in a 3rd world nation).

The F27-500 had (and has) a very similar max BRW to the DH3, but the gap between operating weight seems much wider with the Dash far lighter, but we still seemed to be able to handle much better payload with them.

Is this a function of fuel capacity and range with the DH3 winning out on this front or the benefits of water meth injection, albeit a 250kg penalty?

The only time you got into trouble with ZFW on an F27 500 was with a full load and full centre wing tanks, which must of course require a reduction of MZFW kilo for kilo with every drop they carry there. NLK was an interesting exercise on a daily basis, limited to 36 psgrs on a -500 with liferafts stowed as well and runing on point of no return.

Air NSW did PNR with F28-1000s and got away with that despite one very close call.

Just interested, as the DH8 series has sold extremely well after Fokker stumbled badly with the Hangar 50 that assisted them on the way to oblivion.

I still miss my 19 tonne dog- whistles though.

Best all


ps: Good week for the aeroplane display!! Two British Midland models - at least one an A320 series inbound from a Ppruner and received an SQ744 in the tropic strip rego's 9V-SPK - the one lost at TPE.

Was not allowed to display the first, but as time passes people forget, and allowed to put No 2 out. That makes 45 models on display in the office now, including some excellent EW oldies.

Need more shelves, but if any ppruners can jag me one from a boardroom, it will do more good for your airline here that there! :O


7th Feb 2003, 11:54
The people who profess to be crew reckon there is no problem regarding weights and uplift.

It seems hard to imagine that the B717 is not emminently capable of replacing the old F28 on the Pom-Cns-Pom sector.

After all the RJ70 didn't seem to have any difficulty.

I guess it will be all up to Px and Qf to decide in the long run.

11th Feb 2003, 11:10
Just an additional thought to what OzExpat had to say.
The market for CNS-POM I believe is mostly business people and contract workers commuting, both traveling light on the baggage.
Secondly, Air Niugini is hard pressed to maintain its schedule within PNG.
Thus, by QF using a Dash 8-300 on the CNS-POM 3 times a day, the seats available and baggage are close to 2 F28 flights a day and more frequency would be welcome to those regular customers trying to get in and out of POM and not stuck there.
Just a thought only.

Pimp Daddy
11th Feb 2003, 20:41
Eastwest Loco - Unfortunately the ex-Southern aircraft haven't been sold yet but they are actively investigating it. The 3 new -300s are to replace the 3 leased aircraft i that the group has, TQA TQB TQC. One will go to Sunnies and a -200 will transfer to Eastern.

The Southern aircraft serials are 005, 014 and 025 from memory, the only one older is TQO which is serial 004 and Bombardier want that one back for their museum!

11th Feb 2003, 22:10

What you say definitely has some merit, however there are few factors which you also need to consider.

Much of the travel between POM/CNS/POM is business and contract workers, however not all. Those of us that commute regularly on contract leave POM with minimal baggage, but come back with between 25 and 35 kg - this is because we stock up on all the things we cannot buy at a reasonable price in PNG (including all toiletries) and we also carry items for friends who do not commute regularly, as the unreliability of Post PNG means postal items frequently arrive late - if at all.

Additionally, as well as the commuting expat contract workers (whose numbers are dwindling quite dramatically), you must also take into account the large number of PNG people living in Cairns. Many of these people are frequently visited by their wantoks still in PNG, and in turn they frequently visit PNG for family ocassions. Again, these people carry food items, gifts, clothing, light furnishings and all manner of other items when they return to PNG to visit their extended families who do not have easy access such items.

I know the baggage restriction on the Dash 8 within Australia is 16kg, and some how I don't think this would cut it on the CNS/POM run - even taking into account those few business people who visit with little baggage.

Additionally, the majority of business people who visit PNG travel ex Sydney and Brisbane direct. It's really only a percentage of the contract staff, school and university students and people with family in Cairns that take the Cairns option.

As a matter of interest, the POM/CNS route should be one of the most lucrative routes in the world judging by the prices charged. It is a bit steep when you consider the loadings, and the fact we have no choice!!!

11th Feb 2003, 23:28
to Amelia
Thanks for the closer look at the customer base on the CNS-POM route. Back to the original thread question then , this would leave the 717 in the existing QF fleet or farming out again to NJC 146's. The only other possibility was the rumour in Qld a while back of using a Dash 8-400 (70 seats and 365kts), but that has gone quiet for some time. Just another thought; has Australian Air Express shown an interest in doing a CNS-POM freighter? Maybe potential for a new freight operator from CNS to POM -LAE-MADANG-HAGEN. There's 4 Shorts 360-300's on the ramp in BNE, which are starting to look cheaper by the day!!! Interested in starting your own airline?????!!!

14th Feb 2003, 10:57
Yes, Amelia is spot on. My checked bag is usually close to empty for the POM-CNS sector, but overflowing on the CNS-POM sector. And, if you've ever seen the queues at check-in for the flight from CNS, you'll see MANY people with up to 5 large bags, all of which are obviously quite full - the check-in staff get to use a lot of "Heavy" tags!

b55... I'm not sure that there'd be scope for a cargo operation of the type you suggest. There's a lot of stuff that comes up from Cairns by sea and, by and large, this has proved to be a reasonably fast and reliable service that doesn't add a lot to the price of the imported commodities. The stuff that comes in by air is much more expensive and, well, all prices at the supermarkets are already too high to justify further increases due to air carriage of stuff that now comes by sea.