BAe 146 G-ZAPN Finds New Home in Australia

Posted: Thursday 11th April 2013

Without fanfare or ceremony, G-ZAPN, the prototype BAe 146-200QC gently slipped off to its new owner and operator Skyforce of Australia last Thursday, April 4th 2013.  The aircraft had operated with Titan Airways for 13 ½ years, prior to this she had operated with Ansett New Zealand.  Whilst in operation with Titan, G-ZAPN had a diverse role from carrying VIP passengers, including HM The Queen, to transporting the Royal Mail.  G-ZAPN arrived at its new home, Bankstown Airport , Sydney N.S.W. on the 9th April after a 5 day ferry flight with 11 stops on route and is now to be registered VH-SIF.


New operator, Skyforce Aviation, currently only operates two 1953 built Convair 580 cargo aircraft (60 years old!!), capable of 6 ton + payloads. The 146 in comparison is a new baby as she is only 24 years and 3 months oldSkyforce have been looking for a long time to identify the next aircraft they should move to and have chosen the 146 for its short take-off and landing characteristics and large freight door.  The Convair aircraft primarily operate  from Cairns  into Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands carrying mining  and general cargoes (a little different from Titan`s Edinburgh and Belfast night mail runs).  Outsized cargoes are frequent with the CV580 and the C130 the only aircraft that can do these jobs. 6 metre + drill pipes are a common load.


Skyforce required an aircraft that would perform as well as the CV580 in the challenging strips they operate to.  Their business model is not dissimilar to Titan`s own which is mainly ad hoc charter although they do have a few smaller contracts, they prefer to provide a solution to the client that others cannot.  The ability to operate the 146 as a passenger aircraft is a great bonus to Skyforce as later this year they will be upgrading their AOC to cater for passenger charters.  Skyforce feel that this aircraft has a perfect niche for them whilst the fuel burn is almost identical to the Convair, the 146 can carry almost twice the payload so it’s a very economical option for the work.


Skyforce look forward to taking delivery of our other BAe 146-200QC, G-ZAPK at the end of the year and we hope they will be a successful for them as they have been for Titan.