Air Transport World

Outback ranger: National Jet Systems thrives in multiple roles despite the challenges of operating in Australia's harsh interior.(Regional)

Australia's outback, a euphemism for the country's dry and dusty interior, is utterly unforgiving. Searing heat, rugged mountain ranges, perennially dry creek beds and countless salt flats have claimed many victims and the nation's colorful history is littered with tragic tales of death for the ill-prepared.

The outback also claims the unwary in Australia's cutthroat airline/air charter business that supports the country's booming resource industry. Success in this segment is all about getting aircraft to perform well beyond their original design criteria and achieving levels of reliability that only an aircraft salesman would date to promise.

For Adelaide-based National Jet Systems, which operates in its own right as well as a significant number of QantasLink flights, the outback is its turf and the venerable BAe 146 its thoroughbred. The success of its operations was a factor in the demise of Ansett Australia, and upstarts are barely putting a dent in its flightpath.

NJS traces its origins to the 1990 merger of Jet Systems and National Jet and the securing of a single contract operating passenger charter services for Santos Ltd. between Adelaide and the Moomba natural gas fields with a BAe 146-100. In 1991 the operation was expanded with three more 146-100s to operate Queensland regional flights on behalf of Australian Airlink, Australian Airlines' new Regional arm. …

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