FLYING HIGH: A Boeing 717-200 flew into Orange on Monday to pick up mining crew working in the region. Photo supplied.ONE of the largest commercial aircrafts to have flown in and out of Orange landed at Orange Regional Airport on Monday.
The Boeing 717-200, owned by QantasLink, was operated and crewed by major charter flight operator Cobham Aviation Services.
The 125-seater aircraft picked up the workers from Orange on Friday, May 27 and took them to a remote mine on Groote Eylandt off the coast of the Northern Territory in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
On Monday the plan returned to Orange from Groote Eylandt.
According to Orange City Council airport community chair councillor Chris Gryllis the plane’s arrival was a testament to the benefits of the ongoing upgrades to the Orange Regional airport.
“The recent $19 million upgrade included lengthening the airport by 438 metres,” Cr Gryllis said.
“Previously, with the shorter runway, jets of this size had to take off with a smaller fuel load, and therefore had to stop for re-fuelling on longer flights like this.
“This week’s flight made the trip to Groote Eylandt directly in three hours.”
Last week the NSW government announced a further $1.46 million grant to spray an epoxy microseal layer over the runway to reduce the impact of small stone chips being blown around by large jets, and also a major upgrade to a second taxiway.
Flights like this show that the major investment was well worth it.
After the charter job was completed, the plane flew from Orange back to Brisbane.
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