High times en route to Uluru

STEPHEN SCOURFIELD meets the crew on an unusual charter flight

It’s not a usual flight. For a start, it is direct from Perth to Uluru’s airport. The Alliance Airlines plane has been chartered for a long weekend by Holidays of Australia’s NT Now.

The captain, Jakub Juszkiewicz, begins the flight by standing in the cabin with a microphone to greet us passengers. From the cockpit, he then continues to tell us more about the plane, the route, and some of the features we are flying over.

We pass Northam and Laverton and roughly follow the Great Central Road over Warburton to Uluru.

While the Fokker 100 can take up to 122 seats, Alliance fits only 100, giving more legroom, and I am with Mogens Johansen and just 62 guests for the weekend. Jim Wren is here as tour manager for Holidays of Australia and local guides will tell the stories of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

First officer Joseph Douglas estimates that we will use 80 litres per person for the two- hour flight, compared with 40 litres per person if we had driven what Google reckons is a 25-hour drive.

Jakub, Joseph, and Lucy and Bryce running the cabin, are already contributing to our great two nights away, but perhaps the best is yet to come.

For, as we arrive in the Red Centre, Jakub and Joseph give us a “flightseeing” tour of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, formerly known as the Olgas. Over 20 minutes, they position the aircraft for good views, then turn to pass the other way, so that everyone gets to see.

Holidays of Australia has everyone seated in either a window seat or the seat adjacent, so everyone gets a view. It’s a big start to a great long weekend.

Read the full story here.

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