Cobham Aviation Services welcomed the arrival of its E190 at its base in Adelaide at 22:00 on November 9.
The operator acquired the aircraft to support a dedicated charter service contract for a large multinational energy corporation to transport personnel between Perth and Barrow Island.
This is the first E190 that will be used for this type of charter flying and it faces some unique operating procedures since Barrow Island is an “A-Class” reserve. The island is home to a variety of animals that are extinct on the mainland and whose populations are dwindling. The Government of Australia imposes strict rules for aircraft flying to and from Barrow Island in order to protect the sensitive ecology.
All personnel arriving on the flight from Perth must pass through a sterile facility that includes sniffer dogs and bio-monitors. Passengers are screened for seeds, dust, food and anything else that may threaten the island’s ecosystem. When it starts regular flights in mid-February, the 104-seat E190 will require about four hours of daily pre- and post-flight cleaning before it can be dispatched. All cargo is wrapped in plastic, gassed and sprayed for insects.
Since 2010, Cobham has been flying the Perth-Barrow route with an AVRO RJ100. The airline opted to add the E190 because of its speed, economics and cabin. According to Cobham General Manager of Regional Services Ryan Both, the E190 “… is more fuel efficient, has two-by-two passenger configuration and a next-generation aircraft so it comes with so many benefits you can’t list them.”
There are 23 E-Jets and 3 ERJs in the fleets of Australian carriers including Airnorth of Darwin, Virgin Australia, Cobham Aviation Services and JetGo. Collectively, Skippers Aviation, Airnorth, King Island Airlines and Hardy Aviation fly a dozen Embraer E110 and E120 turboprops.