Cobham Aviation Services Australia

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Cobham Aviation Services Australia
Cobham plc logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1989
Hubs Adelaide Airport
Secondary hubs Darwin International Airport
Cairns International Airport
Perth Airport
Brisbane Airport
Subsidiaries Surveillance Australia, Asia Pacific Airlines (PNG)
Fleet size 35
Parent company Cobham plc
Headquarters Adelaide Airport, South Australia, Australia
Key people Peter Nottage, CEO[1]

Cobham Aviation Services Australia (formerly National Jet Systems), is a scheduled and charter airline with its Headquarters based in Adelaide, Australia.


National Jet Systems (NJS) was established in 1989 and started operations on 1 July 1990. It soon commenced scheduled operations on behalf of Australian Airlines, mainly to tourist destinations in northern Australia, operating a fleet of BAe 146 aircraft under the Airlink brand. After Australian Airlines was taken over by Qantas it continued these operations, and in 2005 commenced operating Boeing 717 aircraft, the operation being rebranded as QantasLink at the same time. The services on behalf of QantasLink are contracted until 2018.[2] In September 2014, Cobham announced it will require at least one Embraer E190 to use on its regional Barrow Island contract.[3]

National Jet Avro RJ70 at Perth Airport (2003).
Cobham BAe 146-300QT in the colours of Australian air Express
Cobham 6000 hours - Falcon 20 EW


Cobham Aviation Services provides all crew and engineering support and services for QantasLink's Jet operations in Australia,[4] and operates freight services for Australian air Express, along with charter services across its regional network for clients such as Santos, BHP Billiton and Chevron; resource companies that require Fly In/Fly Out (FIFO) services across remote Australia. Cobham Headquarters is based in Adelaide International Airport, with hubs at Cairns International Airport, Darwin International Airport, Perth Airport, Brisbane Airport, Sydney Kingsford-Smith, Canberra Airport and Hobart Airport.

Cobham Aviation Services has developed "turnkey" transportation systems, including airport management and reservations services, for major Australian infrastructure projects such as Santos's Cooper Basin gas fields at Moomba and Ballera in the heart of Australia, Chevron's Barrow Island operations into a Class "A" nature reserve with strict quarantine requirements, along with operations for Ok-Tedi gold and copper mine in Papua New Guinea.[5]

Cobham Regional Services, also known as National Jet Express, or JetEx, conducts scheduled closed charter flights on its "regional network" and freight services on behalf of Australian air Express (AaE).[6] JetEx operates three BAe 146 freighters on night freight services to and from curfew-restricted Sydney Airport, along with Bae146 and RJ100 aircraft in Perth and Adelaide on scheduled closed charter flights for bluechip minings clients. Surveillance Australia, or Special Missions business unit operates a civilian aerial surveillance program on behalf of the Border Protection Command.[7] Cobham Airline Services operates the QantasLink Boeing 717 aircraft, these flights use the "QF" IATA code and the ICAO code "QJE" (call sign 'Q-Jet').

In 2014 Cobham Aviation Services announced a four-year contract providing fly-in fly-out services to Gold Fields, servicing Granny Smith and Darlot. As part of this new contract Cobham will operate an 82-seat Avro RJ85 equipped with gravel kit allowing the jet aircraft to land on gravel runways.[8] Consecutively, scheduled services to Kambalda were ended, with flights being transferred to Skippers Aviation.

Cobham Aviation Services will introduce the first Embraer E190 to be used in the Australian closed charter sector in 2015. The 104 seat E190 will operate in addition to the Avro RJ100 servicing Chevron's natural gas operations in Western Australia. The contract extension with Chevron Australia is said to be worth more than $160 million AUD.[9]

On 24 October 2014, AMSA awarded a new contract[10] to Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd to commence in August 2016 for a minimum of twelve years valued at $640 million AUD with three one-year contract extension options which would take the full value to over $700 million AUD.[11] They will replace AeroRescue Pty Ltd who have been operating Dornier 328P aircraft. Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd will operate four Bombardier CL-604 aircraft specially modified and equipped for the contract, based at Cairns, Melbourne, and Perth.[12]


A QantasLink-branded Cobham Boeing 717 at Canberra Airport, November 2013

Cobham's operations can be broken into four separate branches; it flies scheduled services on its own behalf.[13] Scheduled operations on behalf of QantasLink and AaE. It also has an extensive closed charter operation in support of the mining industry.[14][15]

Cobham charter services
Domestic scheduled destinations for QantasLink
Freight scheduled destinations for Australian air Express
  • Queensland
    • Brisbane (Brisbane Airport)
  • Victoria
    • Melbourne (Melbourne Airport)
    • Melbourne (Essendon Airport)
  • New South Wales
    • Sydney (Sydney Airport)
  • South Australia
    • Adelaide (Adelaide Airport)


One of National Jet's British Aerospace BAe 146-200s at Sydney Airport

As of March 2014 the Cobham fleet consists of the following aircraft:[16]

Cobham Aviation Services Australia Fleet
Aircraft Total Notes
Avro RJ100 5
Avro RJ85 2
BAe 146-100 2
BAe 146-100QT 1 operated on freight services for Australian air Express
BAe 146-200 1
BAe 146-300 2
BAe 146-300QT 3 operated on freight services for Australian air Express
Embraer E190 1 [17] Operated for QantasLink from February 2016.
Boeing 717-200 20 Operated on passenger services as part of QantasLink
Total 35 (+1 Order)


  • 29 April 2014: The no. 2 engine of a Cobham Aviation Avro RJ100, registration VH-NJI, failed shortly after take-off from Perth, Western Australia. Witnesses described a trail of sparks leaving the back of the No. 2 (left-hand, inner) engine. The aircraft made a successful landing with no injuries.[18][19]

See also[edit]

  • Sir Alan Cobham, who flew from Britain to Australia in August 1926. 60,000 were at Essendon Airport, Melbourne to welcome him.


  1. ^ Cobham finalises $50m Santos contract extension - Australian Aviation 31 May 2012
  2. ^ "Cobham Gets 5-Year $500m QantasLink Pact Extension"; Fox Business. Retrieved: 18 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Cobham introduces Embraer E190 for contract extension"; Aviation Business. Retrieved: 21 September 2014.
  4. ^ About Our Subsidiary Companies: QantasLink (accessed 2008-03-10)
  5. ^ Oil, Mining and Gas
  6. ^ CASA website link to National Jet Express AOC. Retrieved: 6 September 2008[dead link]
  7. ^ Surveillance Australia - home page. Retrieved: 16 June 2009.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "New search and rescue aircraft contract awarded" (PDF). AMSA. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Cobham wins AUD $640 million Australian Maritime Safety Authority contract for Airborne Search & Rescue". Cobham Aviation Pty Ltd. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "National Jet Seals Expanded Services for Murrin Murrin"; National Jet Media Release. Retrieved: 6 September 2008. Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "National Jet Seals Barrow Island Contract with Bristow Helicopters"; National Jet Media Release. Retrieved: 6 September 2008. Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Australian civil aircraft register search, using "National Jet" as the search parameter. Search conducted 12 March 2014
  17. ^ "NEW E190 OPERATOR IN AUSTRALIA". Embraer Commercial Jets. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Plane lands safely at Perth Airport after engine fire". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 April 2014. 
  19. ^ |website=AV Herald

External links[edit]