Shuttle and Charter services around Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory
With vast distances between communities and poor road connections over difficult terrain, flights by VH-MQR help people and supplies reach remote indigenous areas.
In December when the Australian academic year comes to a close, the GA8 aircraft had a special task of transporting family members to celebrate students’ achievements.
It is particularly significant in this part of Australia where a high proportion of students often don’t graduate high school, which limits their opportunities in adult life.
But thanks to VH-MQR and other planes within MAF’s Arnhem Land programme, teachers are brought to work in the local schools. Teachers are flown to and from the remote homelands schools every week of each 10-week primary school term.
For secondary schools, MAF flies students from about half a dozen homelands into one homeland school where they are taught together. That programme runs for seven or eight weeks of that term with more than 30 students flying at the beginning and end of each week.
The flights have allowed students in remote communities to travel to school and finish Year 12, a significant achievement which would have been difficult without MAF’s service.
“It’s one of our workhorses which serves the Laynhapuy Homelands School, we use it to shuttle teachers and students,” said Arnhem Land programme director Matthew Henderson.
“They are finishing up their terms for the year, so MQR is bringing in families for the graduation ceremony to celebrate the achievements of these young people.
“The school recognises that it is a team effort and I know the pilots get excited to be part of it, seeing indigenous students complete their studies and go beyond Year 12.”
In November, the last full month of school for the year, MAF flew 85 hours for Laynhapuy Homelands School with planes, including VH-MQR, covering 14,212km to make it happen.
Ahead of classes resuming in January, after the summer holiday, MAF planes will again be in demand as teachers head back to work and high school students are flown to their school for another term.