Compass Airlines was the first attempt to compete against the duopoly of Ansett and Australian Airlines when market deregulation finally came about in November 1990. It was doomed to fail, but did become the only airline operator of VH registered A300-600s - and oddly a single Airbus A310 too.
Airline's come and go with some frequency, but some are more interesting than others and few short-lived attempts get a release in 400 scale. Some do though, usually via that haven of diversity Aeroclassics. I do love an obscure airline from an obscure nation and Pacific Flier is both. Small Pacific island nations have often attempted to create their own connectivity but it has not always been easy for them and Palau's attempt in 2009 did not last long.
Air Pacific's first foray into long-haul flights was an expensive failure, however the airline wasn't to be denied and tried another tack. Although upgrading capacity to 747s may at first glance have seemed unwise the new arrangement was a big success in no small part to its new partnership with Australia's national carrier Qantas.
When I investigate the histories of models in my collection it is always an interesting moment when I realise that I have the same airframe in my collection wearing different liveries. This is the case for one of my DC-10-30s, which started its life in the South Pacific and would alternate during its career between that region and the USA. It was also unique in being the only DC-10 to wear the wonderful scheme of Air Pacific of Fiji and would be the aircraft that launched that airline's ill-fated first steps into long-haul travel.
The A320 recently became the most produced family of jet airliners in history, however the type had a slightly rocky start in Australia. Initially it looked like both TAA and Ansett would purchase the new Airbus but in the end Ansett were the only one of the two big domestics to take the plunge.
The Pacific islands have a proud history of colourful flag carriers, however the majority of the region’s airlines have struggled with their remoteness, the limited investment capability of their home nations and competition from Australia and New Zealand. Polynesian Airlines’ history illustrates all three aspects during its history.
The Boeing 757 is renowned for having some grunt, which is one of the reasons it has gained a second life on transatlantic duties. It also makes it ideal for operating in hot and high destinations where the thin air makes thrust important. The Western regions of China include the foothills of the Himalayas right up to the Tibetan plateau and the 757 proved its worth in these challenging conditions.
November 1990 marked the date that the Australian domestic airline market was finally fully deregulated, however unlike in other markets this did not signal a rollercoaster of new entrant airlines. The Australian market had always been hyper-regulated and even with deregulation the grandfathered airlines, Australian and Ansett, had major advantages. So much so in fact that only a single challenger appeared to compete with them. This was Compass Airlines.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: