Antonov 124 'RA-82046' operated by the Volga-Dnepr Group departed Avalon as VDA2066 to Sydney after making an appearance at the biennial Avalon International Air Show. The mighty Ukrainian was here delivering a US Apache helicopter, also here in town for the air show. After arriving in Sydney on 6th March RA-82046 overnighted and was scheduled to depart the following morning. However due to engine problems the Antonov was delayed, finally departing Sydney at 1545 to Honolulu on the same callsign VDA2066. It was certainly a treat to see the aircraft after an absence from Sydney skies for almost three years. RA-82046 was built in 1992 making it almost 25 years old. It is currently sporting the old Volga-Dnepr livery.
10 Tanker Air Carrier DC-10 N612AX 'Bomber 910' concluded its work down under after another successful summer fighting fires around Australia. N612AX arrived at Richmond in October where it was to be based for the bush fire season. 10 Tanker Air Carrier have 3 firefighting DC-10s in their fleet; N612AX (910), N17085 (911) and N522AX (912). All the tankers are ex commercial jets originally operating for Finnair, Thai Airways and Japan Air System respectively. It is unlikely that 10 Tanker Air Carrier will return next season with one of their DC-10s as the NSW Government only leased them to the NSW RFS for two fire seasons. N612AX Departed RAAF Richmond on Thursday the 2nd March for Albuquerque via Pago Pago and Honolulu where it will resume service with the remaining 10 Tanker fleet of DC-10s.
President Joko Widodo of Indonesia arrived in Sydney on a drizzly Saturday morning. President Widodo was in town to discuss trade, military and tourism during the two nations annual leaders meeting. President Widodo also met with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian before having a private dinner with Prime Minister Turnbull at Point Piper. This was President Widodo's first visit to Australia however he was scheduled to visit late 2016 but due to religious tension in Indonesia he was forced to post-pone his visit until early this year. President Widodo concluded his two day visit on Sunday departing back to Jakarta on Sunday afternoon at around 5:30pm. During his visit of Sydney President Widodo traveled on Boeing 737-800BBJ A-001, a specially modified BBJ built and delivered to the Indonesian government in 2012.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu arrived in Sydney early Wednesday morning from Singapore. The 'scenic' flight route from Singapore took over 11 hours, as the plane had to avoid Indonesian airspace. During the visit Prime Minister Netanyahu had talks with both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Netanyahu also visited a Jewish school, attended the Central Synagogue in Bondi and had a stroll along the famous Manly Beach. Security was very tight during Netanyahu's visit with road blocks being set up around the airport three hours prior to his departure. All inbound and Outbound traffic around the airport were brought to a standstill 20 minutes prior to his departure until he was wheels up. He departed on the 26th of February at 12:30pm for Hong Kong and again tracked east to avoid Indonesian air space. El Al Israel Airlines privately charted Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit of Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong. The aircraft they used was Boeing 767-300ER 4X-EAR which is specially configured to carry the PM and his delegates. Prime Minister Netanyahu is due to have is own private aircraft specifically for diplomatic visits. It is due to be delivered mid way through the year.
Emirates Skycargo 77F 'A6-EFL' has visited Sydney for the first time with the Rose sticker applied in celebration of Valentines day. EFL departed Singapore for Sydney where she landed at 0945 local time. After suffering unknown technical difficulties whilst in Sydney, she was forced to stay overnight and then departed the next afternoon bound for Hong Kong. Unknown for how long the stickers will last, it certainly is an eye catching livery. EFL is the only airframe in the EK Skycargo fleet with the sticker applied.
In recent days, Qantas have applied special Mardi Gras scheme aboard one of their A330 Aircraft 'VH-QPJ' which is also adorned in the new roo scheme. As the official airline partner of the Sydney Mardi Gras, they have applied rainbow stickers on the title, tail and engine cowls celebrating the LGBTQ community. Qantas has taken the initiative to step forward, and has really paid off. They have received media attention attention throughout the world and the livery has proved to be a hit on social media throughout both the spotting and the LGBTQ communities. The aircraft has since been given a very appropriate nickname, the Qantas GAY330.
Guns and Roses have commenced their ‘Not in this Lifetime’ tour which has taken them into Sydney aboard their leased luxury Boeing 767 Jet of Aeronexus which is configured with only 96 premium lie flat seats. ‘ZS-NEX’ the aircraft, which has had several different stickers applied to advertise their tour, recently landed on Australian soil, coming in from Auckland arriving at Brisbane before continuing to Sydney with callsign ‘ARN1A’ to commence the Australian part of their tour. The aircraft is currently in Melbourne and will visit Adelaide and Perth in the coming days before jetting off to Singapore to continue their world tour which will last another six months. The aircraft arrived during darkness on the 10th, and left just after sunset on the 13th, with many spotters and die hard fans watching the aircraft depart into the fiery sky.
Asiana Airlines announced a very interesting summer schedule into Sydney this season. Continuing with the usual A330-300s Asiana swapped aircraft to the 777-200ER which arrived in Sydney on the 1st November. This was followed by six brief appearances from the A380 on the 14th, 18th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, and 27th November which gave passengers and enthusiasts the first look at the aircraft type in Asiana colours in Australia. The A380 then made more appearances serving the OZ801/802 route from 28th December to the 22nd January where the much anticipated return of the iconic 747 replaced the A380. The 747 is currently still operating on flights to Sydney however according to the Asiana website the 777-200s are scheduled to resume the ICN-SYD Return service from the 28th February.
Sky Prime A340-200 HZ-SKY1 Arrived into Sydney Airport at around 2:30pm local time from Auckland. SKY1 had previously visited Melbourne before its short stay in Auckland. HZ-SKY1 originally registered D-AIBB of Lufthansa was the 9th A340 out of the production line. SKY1 was delivered to Sky Prime in early 2016. Meanwhile CS-TFU of PrivatAir made its first visit into Sydney from Jakarta (CGK) on 29th January at a little after 10pm local time. It departed the following day back to Indonesia at around 1:45pm. Finally later that night on the 30th January Sky Prime A340-200 HZ-SKY1 Departed Sydney for Riyahd at 10:15pm.
On 13th January the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe arrived in Sydney from Davao, Philippines, ahead of talks with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull. Prime Minister Abe arrived in Sydney at 9:55PM local time aboard Japan Air Self Defense Force 747-400 20-1101 call sign "Japan Air Force One". Around 30 minutes later JASDF 747-400 20-1102 "Japan Air Force 2" arrived as a support aircraft. The 747s were delivered to the Japanese Government in 1990 and are both 26 years old. The JASDF 747s are scheduled to be replaced with 777-300ERs in the near future so it is expected that it will be Prime Minister Abe's final tour aboard them. On 15th January Prime Minister Abe departed Sydney for Jakarta at around 9:30AM local time aboard JASDF 747-400 20-1102 that was shortly followed by 20-1101 around 15 minutes later. Abe is set to visit Indonesia and Vietnam which concludes his four country tour.
The final weeks of 2016 have seen a number of international freighters operate charters into Sydney. This was started by Dubai Airwing 747-400F A6-GGP operating as DUB8 arriving into Sydney from Dubai in the early hours of the 17th December. It departed two days later on the 19th December under the same call sign carrying horses back to Dubai. Next was Etihad Cargo 777-200F A6-DDC EY9866 which arrived on the 23rd December however it only stayed for around to hours departing back to Abu Dhabi at dusk. One day later on the 24th December Air Bridge Cargo returned to Sydney after almost a decade absent with 747-400ERF VP-BIM Arriving as RU9486 from Hong Kong. VP-BIM later departed on Christmas day back to Hong Kong as RU9587. Air Bridge Cargo extended their visit with 737-400F VQ-BVF arriving into Sydney from Canberra as V89206 a few days later on the 29th December. It departed the next day concluding the freight charters in 2016.