The in-depth histories of the individual aircraft that were operated by Ozjet Airlines.
The name ‘Ozjet’ was first registered as a trademark to Peter Schott, a Metroliner pilot from New South Wales who was studying for his Masters of Business Administration at Swinburne University in Victoria in 2002. When the Minardi Formula One team owner Paul Stoddart, who was born in Coburg, Victoria, floated the idea of a ‘low-cost’ domestic regional airline ‘Ausjet’ a new company Ausjet Airlines Pty Ltd was created.
Peter Schott and Paul Stoddart realised the potential of adopting the Ozjet name and did so. In 2004 the original Ozjet Airlines Pty Ltd was deregistered and Ausjet Airlines Pty Ltd became Ozjet Airlines Pty Ltd. Peter Schott was initially the Chief Operating Officer but was later replaced by David Blake in late 2005.
Following its pre-application meeting on June 10, 2005, Ozjet Airlines Pty Ltd gained a Certificate of Airworthiness for its first jet on October 28, 2005. After a number of delays Ozjet was granted an Air Operator's Certificate by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority on November 11, 2005.
On November 29, 2005 OzJet commenced operations, flying eight scheduled return services per day between Melbourne and Sydney using older Boeing 737-200 aircraft transferred from Paul Stoddart's Eurpoean Aviation. Each aircraft was configured with 60 ‘business class’ seats. OzJet intended to expand its fleet with up to seven further Boeing 737s and four British Aerospace 146s. Plans were in place to expand the network to include the cities of Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.
The Ozjet motto was "You're in Business", reflected its marketing and product focus on business travellers. OzJet wanted to attain a market share of no more than 10% of the business market from competitors Qantas, Virgin Blue and Jetstar.
Initially the airline offered its business class seats in its three aircraft at fares similar to those of fully flexible economy class seats of its competitors. Faced with poor loads on its services, partly due to not commencing operations until just before the start of the Australian Christmas holiday period, it had to soon resort to discounting, including "two seats-for-the-price-of-one" offers. On many of the Ozjet flights, there were more flight attendants than actual passengers. The low passenger numbers continued and in December 2005 the airline commenced offering charter flights.
On Sunday March 12, 2006 Paul Stoddart announced that OzJet would cease all scheduled operations. All stranded passengers were given flights with Qantas, flying in economy class, and all other booked fares were given full refunds, and an opportunity to book a matching flight with Qantas at the same price.
On May 16, 2006, OzJet announced that is was taking over operating the regular service from Australia to Norfolk Island, replacing Air Nauru from May 24, 2006. The main aircraft used on this service was configured with 108 seats, 8 of which were ‘Bounty Class’ and ticketed by Qantas and Norfolk Air. The services operated several days a week flying from the Norfolk Island to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Newcastle.
On August 21, 2006 the airline began scheduled operations on behalf of Airlines PNG between Brisbane and Port Moresby. By November 2007 these services were operating three times a week, originating in Brisbane each operating day.
In February 2007 OzJet recommenced scheduled flights, operating between Perth and Derby, Western Australia, three times each week.
In September 2007 Ozjet commenced charter flights from Perth to Bali, Indonesia operating on behalf of travel agency IndoJet, initially twice weekly. It was subsequently increasing to four times per week. In October 2007 Ozjet announced that subject to regulatory approval it would commence regular services connecting Palmerston North in New Zealand with the Australian ports of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. However it was decided in March 2008, just four days before the first scheduled flights were to take place, the services would not go ahead, leaving hundreds of travellers in limbo without any information or official contact from OzJet.
In May 2008 it was announced that Paul Stoddart had sold his 97.4% stake in OzJet to HeavyLift Cargo Airlines. The new Chairman of OzJet, HeavyLift's Nick Leach, was reported as saying that the Boeing 737-200s would be replaced with newer and more fuel efficient 737-300s and 737-400s.
In October 2008 the Manawatu Standard reported that Ozjet was in talks with Palmerston North International Airport to discuss Ozjet commencing services from Australia to Palmerston North, that had been abandoned at the time of the HeavyLift sale. In late 2008 Ozjet's services to Port Moresby on behalf of Airlines PNG ceased when Pacific Blue Airlines commenced code-sharing flights on November 03.
On April 29, 2009 Norfolk Air CEO Jeff Murdoch announced that following a decision by Ozjet Airlines to immediately end charter services to the island, Our Airline would be taking over all charter services on behalf of Norfolk Air. Following the grounding of OzJet's fleet, air services between Perth and Derby were restored with Fokker 100 aircraft chartered from Alliance Airlines.