The Australian-Registered Commercial Aircraft With The Most Flight Cycles On The Clock
Australia’s complex geography means that the country plays host to a wide variety of airlines. Among these are a host of different aircraft types, with particular designs being conducive to operating frequent, short hops. These planes typically accrue more cycles than other models, but which of the country’s planes has the most?
Skytrans dominates the top five
According to data from ch-aviation.com, Cairns-headquartered regional carrier Skytrans Airlines is the place to go when it comes to Australia’s busiest active aircraft by cycles flown. Indeed, all of the country’s top five planes by this metric belong to Skytrans. In fact, these planes account for the carrier’s entire fleet!
Specifically, Skytran’s fleet comprises five De Havilland Dash 8-100 turboprops, with a high average age of 35.2 years old. Among these, the example with the most cycles on the clock at the time of the last measurement (November 2021, in this instance) was VH-QQC. This 36-seater had amassed, at that point, 69,530 cycles.
It is interesting that this particular aircraft stands out, given that, at 31 years old, it is Skytrans’ youngest plane. Next-highest is VH-QQG, with 62,730 cycles, followed by VH-QQB, which has amassed 61,512 cycles across 38.2 years. Rounding out the top five, we have VH-QQI (58,788 cycles) and, finally, VH-QQF (58,028 cycles).
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The best of the rest
The rest of the top 10 represents a slightly more diverse picture, with three other airlines present. Maroomba Airlines, a Perth-based charter specialist, has aircraft that rank sixth and 10th, with both of these also being Dash 8-100s. Specifically, VH-AEP has 54,369 cycles on the clock, with 49,660 cycles belonging to VH-QQK.
In seventh place, the most well-used jetliner in aircraft by the metric of cycles flown at the time of the last measurement is an ex-Southwest Boeing 737-300 that now serves as a water bomber. It also previously flew for Coulson Aviation US, and retains its American registration (N137CG), but now serves the operator’s Australian division. At the time of its last measurement, it had accrued 53,268 cycles.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 in eighth and ninth place are two Fokker 50 turboprops that fly for Alliance Airlines. Registered as VH-FKZ and VH-FKW, these Dutch-built aircraft had amassed 50,789 and 50,713 cycles respectively, at the time of their last measurements. These are presently Alliance’s only active Fokker 50s.
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What about Qantas?
But where does Australian flag carrier Qantas factor in all of this? As it happens, the longer flights that its aircraft tend to operate mean that they don’t rank that highly in terms of the number of cycles flown. In any case, its most well-used by this metric is VH-VXC, a 20-year-old Boeing 737-800 with 29,594 cycles on the clock.
Did you know that Australia had aircraft with so many cycles? Perhaps you’ve even flown on one (or more) of the examples mentioned? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!