Ansett BAe 146s on the election trail

The collapse of Ansett grounded its fleet of seven BAe 146 series 200s, three series 300s, and two series 200QT freighters. Although Ansett is now flying again in a limited “mark 2” version, this only affects the airline’s Airbus A320s operating on trunk routes. However, three of the grounded BAe 146s have found work with the government. Two series 200s were chartered to operate flights for the two main political parties in their campaigns for the Australian elections due on 11 November. Both went into this service on 10 October. VH-JJW (msn E2110) is flying for the Liberal Party (although the Liberal Party candidate, incumbent Prime Minister John Howard, usually uses a Falcon 50) and VH-JJP (msn E2037) is flying Australian Labor Party leader Kim Beasley. Australian political parties which receive a minimum number of votes in an election are entitled the use of a VIP aircraft in the following election — an important factor given Australia’s vast distances. The RAAF’s VIP aircraft, which would normally have been used on these flights, are fully committed to supporting operations against Afghanistan. For the same reason, an Ansett BAe 146-300 has been chartered to operate a series of flights to East Timor, in support of Australian peacekeeping forces there. Ansett pilots and flight attendants have been hired to operate the aircraft.

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