THIRD LEVEL AIRLINES - WEST AUSTRALIA
A selection of my photographs of the ever-changing WA commuter airline scene
|As the decade began, Civil
Flying Services (WA) had just had a name change to Stillwell Airlines. Swearingen
Metros had been
introduced on the prime scheduled services from Perth to Albany, Esperance, Norseman and Kalgoorile.
Here's Metro VH-SWO Town of Esperance parked at the airline's Perth terminal, which still displays the CFS name.
In February 1980 Skywest Airlines was formed by the merger of Perth-based Jet Charter Air Services and Stillwell Airlines.
Skywest commenced scheduled services on a diverse route network: Perth to Bunbury, Rottnest Island, Albany, Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Norseman, Yeelirrie, Wiluna, Telfer, Meekatharra, Cue, Mt Magnet - and from Karratha to Mount Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Onslow.
|Former Stillwell Airlines
Metro VH-SWN repainted as Skywest Airlines, Perth June 1980
|Jet Charter Air Services had operated from
Perth Airport as Jet Charter WA, with Cessna 550 Citations and Mitsubishi
|High over Perth in October 1980, former Jet
Charter Citations VH-WNZ & -WNP show off their Skywest Airlines markings.
I took this early morning picture from a formating Beech Baron
|Skywest purchased two
new GAF Nomad 24As. VH-FHS at the Perth Airport passenger terminal in June
|Two new Embraer Bandierantes
were ordered, first to arrive on delivery from Brazil was PT-SCA on 7 December
|PT-SCA was quickly out
into airline servce by Skywest as VH-WBI Town
of Albany, photogtraphed at Rottnest Island
|Skywest decided on the Grumman Gulfstream
1 with high-density airline seating to boost capacity and passenger-appeal
prime airline routes to Esperance and Albany. Two former corporate executive transports were ordered from USA.
First to arrive on 7 December 1980 was 1959 model Gulfstream 1 N9300P, which was delivered via Britain and Europe
Australian certification for airline use suffered a series of unexpected and very expensive complications, resulting in the
cancellation of the second Gulfstream. N9300P finally emerged from the hangar as VH-WPA in November 1981
|VH-WPA displays her stylish lines as she
passes Perth Tower while departing on an Esperance service in April 1982.
Skywest quietly sold the Gulfstream back to USA the following year
|Skywest now ordered three new British Aerospace
Jetstream 31s for the airline routes. VH-JSW at Perth in June 1984
British Aerospace demonstrated their latest model BAe146 G-SCHH to Skywest at Perth Airport in November 1982
1982 Skywest Airlines merged with its main charter rival, Trans West Airlines
(formerly Trans West Air Charter)
Trans West Air Charter operated Beech King Air 200s on charter and mining company contracts in the north of WA.
VH-TLX lines up on Runway 24 at Jandakot in October 1980
| Former Trans West
King Air 200 VH-TNQ at Perth in June 1982 after the merger with Skywest
|Cessna 550 Citation VH-TNP
over the Swan River, Perth in June 1981, photographed from a Trans West
|The same Citation in
Skywest markings at Perth Airport July 1985
|Trans West Airlines purchased two DHC-6 Twin
Otter 300s in Canada to be used on mining contracts in the north of WA.
C-GBNI was ex Surinam Airways PZ-TAY, seen on arrival at Jandakot 20 March 1980 on delivery via Europe
|C-GBNI after Australian certification as
|The second Twin Otter was VH-TNM, used on
a scheduled courier service for Australian Iron and Steel company between
Derby WA and its iron ore mines on Koolan Island and Cockatoo Island. Seen at Perth Airport in August 1982
|Trans West Air Charter
operated various twins including BN-2A Islanders. VH-TWI in July 1983 repainted
in Skywest scheme
|A pair of former Trans
West Airlines Cessna 310Rs now in Skywest markings at Perth Airport June
other WA commuter airline operators.....
|Experienced WA charter
operator Jan Beers used his five Beech Barons to operate the remote Kimberley
air service from Derby
to Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek from June 1982. Jan was licenced to carry passengers on the long positioning flights from
his base at Perth Airport to Halls Creek, by far the longest Third Level air route in Australia. 3 Barons at Perth in February 1982
|Rottnest Airlines provided
high-frequency Perth-Rottnest Island services with three Britten-Norman
VH-IGT was photographed after arrival at the island in January 1987
|VH-RTP at Rottnest Island in January 1987.
The airline changed name to Rottnest Airbus effective July 1987
Avior Airlines flew scheduled services with Piper PA-31-350 Chieftans, Perth-Southern Cross-Kalgoorlie, Perth-Bunbury,
and Perth-Geraldton-coastal towns-Carnarvon. Here's VH-EDV at Perth Airport in June 1984
Laurie Potter Airlines was formed in 1987 by the Laurie Potter Health Studios group in Perth to take over Avior Airlines.
The new name commenced flying Avior's services on 24 July 1987. VH-EDV is seen arriving at Bunbury the following month
New operator Midstate Airlines took over the Perth-Bunbury route from 1st July 1986 after Skywest dropped the port.
This PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftan commenced Midstate services. Pictured at Jandakot, July 1986
|Midstate Airlines Cessna 310R VH-JVO carried
the name Starship II on the nose
at Perth Airport in May 1988
|Barrack Helicopters Island
Hopper service from Fremantle to Rottnest Island commencing December
1986 was an ambitious
service using two Ansett Airlines Sikorsky S-61Ns which had been retired in Melbourne for two years.
VH-BHO seen at Rottnest in January 1987 was the former Ansett VH-BRI from Hayman Island services
|VH-BHJ also at Rottnest Island during January
1987 was the former Ansett VH-BRH
Rottnest Island airfield January 1987, with a Skywest Bandierante departing for the 20 miles fight to Perth Airport.
This weathered sign had previously carried advertising for Civil Flying Services, Murchison Air Services and even MMA