The historical past of Australian home aviation is suffering from airways which have tried and didn’t tackle bigger carriers through the years. OzJet was one such service that attempted to compete utilizing all-business class cabins on growing old plane. The airline lasted a 12 months earlier than dropping by the wayside and admitting that its marketing strategy was essentially flawed.
Background to OzJet
Australia has seen many home airways come and go through the years. Just lately, new service Bonza has taken up the mantle as the newest service to compete with the majors, in right this moment’s case, Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia.
OzJet (IATA code O7/ICAO code OZJ) was the brainchild of Melboune-born Components One entrepreneur Paul Stoddart, proprietor of the Minardi F1 racing staff. His early imaginative and prescient was to begin a low-cost airline that may compete on the important thing Sydney to Melbourne trunk route, undercutting his rivals and offering a greater passenger expertise.
Sydney-Melbourne has frequently stood among the many world’s busiest home routes. Given the large demand for capability on the route, it presents prime revenue-earning potential for any airline that may get its providing proper.
Stoddart was already concerned in aviation, proudly owning European Air Constitution within the UK, which operated passenger constitution flights in its personal proper but in addition specialised in moist leasing, plane upkeep, and crew coaching from its Bournemouth Airport headquarters.
Nonetheless, realizing the massive demand for enterprise class journey between the 2 Australian cities, Stoddart re-imagined his airline as an all-business-class service. The plan was for OzJet to supply simplified flat-rate enterprise class fares that may evaluate favorably with its foremost competitor Qantas’ totally versatile financial system class fares.
Following the collapse of Ansett in 2001, Qantas remained Australia’s solely home airline providing enterprise class on this route on the time. Stoddart felt there was sufficient room available in the market to problem Qantas for the profitable enterprise journey market, utilizing a singular method tailored for high-flying enterprise vacationers searching for one thing totally different.
Having initially named his new enterprise ‘Ausjet,’ this was subsequently modified to ‘OzJet’ earlier than the airline’s official launch. The airline was granted its airworthiness certificates for its first plane, a Boeing 737-200 leased from European Air Constitution, in October 2005. The airline was subsequently awarded its Australian Air Operator’s Certificates on November eleventh, 2005.
Graduation of operation
On November twenty ninth, 2005 OzJet commenced operations, flying eight scheduled return companies per day between Sydney and Melbourne, initially utilizing 737-200s, every configured in a 60-seat, all-business class configuration. The fleet ultimately expanded to 5 737-200s through the airline’s existence.
Stoddart deliberate for OzJet to develop to ultimately function a fleet of ten 737-200s plus 4 British Aerospace 146s, working further flights from Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, and Perth. OzJet aimed to win a restricted however profitable foothold in every market the service was to serve, attaining not more than 10% of the enterprise market from Qantas.
OzJet’s advertising slogan was “You’re in Enterprise,” reflecting its advertising and product concentrate on enterprise vacationers. OzJet operated on a ‘flip up and go’ mannequin to go well with time-pressed enterprise vacationers. This facilitated on-line check-in amenities and allowed passengers to print their very own boarding passes and arrive on the airport as little as quarter-hour earlier than departure.
With solely 15 rows of seating organized in a 2-2 configuration, 47cm between the armrests, and ample legroom for stretching out, OzJet aimed to supply a company jet expertise to its prospects. As soon as onboard, complimentary sizzling meals have been served on bone china, with free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
OzJet takes flight
Upon the graduation of operations, OzJet had large enlargement plans. Nonetheless, the truth performed out considerably in another way from what Stoddart and his staff might need anticipated. Launching an all-business-class airline within the run-up to the Christmas holidays led to a right away shortfall in passengers, with astonishingly low numbers on many OzJet flights.
A number of Australian newspapers reported that with the excessive frequency of exits every day, some OzJet companies carried as few as three passengers. Having hoped to compete head-on with rival Qantas for high-yield enterprise visitors, the flag service barely seen the arrival of the brand new challenger available on the market.
Two key components rapidly merged that OzJet hadn’t accounted for. Many current company journey insurance policies typically prohibited enterprise class bookings on such quick sector lengths as Sydney to Melbourne (no matter how aggressive the worth was).
Secondly, many authorities workers have been prohibited from reserving with OzJet till July 2006 as a result of current journey contracts already in place with different carriers. Stoddart and his staff additionally had rejected the thought for OzJet to supply airport lounges or a frequent flyer program, underestimating how a lot company vacationers get pleasure from such add-on perks.
With losses rapidly mounting from the get-go, OzJet slashed its one-way ticket costs to only $125 and promptly launched a ‘purchase one, get one free’ ticket promotion to draw leisure vacationers.
Whereas gross sales on OzJet’s vital Sydney to Melbourne route remained sluggish into 2006, Stoddart fast-tracked plans so as to add Perth to the OzJet community.
Eager to faucet into the profitable assets enterprise visitors and believing that flights to Perth could be higher aligned with the all-business-class mannequin, Stoddart noticed the 4.5-hour flight to Western Australia because the route the place OzJet’s onboard providing would come into its personal.
OzJet’s Perth flights have been introduced in February 2006, with the primary flight scheduled for March thirteenth. Nonetheless, with the airline hemorrhaging money, the writing was already on the wall for OzJet.
The day earlier than the inaugural Sydney to Perth flight operated, Stoddart introduced that OzJet would stop operation as a scheduled airline and as a substitute shift its focus to working on a constitution foundation solely.
On Might 16, 2006, OzJet introduced it might be working passenger companies between a number of Australian airports to Norfolk Island, changing Air Nauru on the route. The OzJet plane used on this service was repainted into Norfolk Air livery and was re-configured for 108 seats (8 enterprise class and 100 in financial system).
The companies operated a number of days per week, from Norfolk Island to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Newcastle on behalf of Norfolk Air.
In August 2006, OzJet started working scheduled flights on behalf of Airways PNG between Brisbane and Port Moresby, working thrice per week. In February 2007, it re-commenced scheduled flights underneath its personal model between Perth and Denby, Western Australia.
Sale and subsequent closure
In Might 2008, Stoddart introduced that he had offered his 97.4% stake in OzJet to Heavylift Cargo Airways, which deliberate to interchange the OzJet Boeing 737-200 fleet with newer and extra gasoline environment friendly 737-300s and 737-400s. Heavylift additionally deliberate to finish the preparations with Airways PNG and Norfolk Air, focussing by itself operations as a substitute.
On February 3, 2009, having failed to stay financially viable with its minimal operations, Heavylift offered its majority share in OzJet to a brand new proprietor, the Strategic Group, which operated a restricted variety of constitution flights initially underneath the OzJet model and later as Air Australia.
Nonetheless, Strategic itself turned bancrupt on February 17, 2012, which lastly marked the top of OzJet operations as soon as and for all. Whereas a single OzJet plane had already escaped Australia and returned to the UK to fly on with European Air Constitution, the 4 others have been parked and successfully deserted at Perth Airport to await their destiny.
The 4 former OzJet plane have been lined up for scrapping because the collected parking charges at Perth exceeded their worth.
Nonetheless, as reported by Easy Flying final November, two former OzJet plane (registered as VH-OZX and VH-OZU) have been rescued by a pair in Western Australia, with one appearing as the principle exhibit in a neighborhood aviation-themed museum and occasion area whereas the opposite is within the technique of being transformed into luxurious trip lodging.
Do you bear in mind OzJet? Maybe you even flew on certainly one of their companies? Tell us extra within the feedback.
Sources: Planespotters.web, ch-aviation.com