18/07/2006 - 22:00

Alliance jets in to charter race

18/07/2006 - 22:00

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

In an already competitive airspace, Western Australia’s regional air charter sector is set to have a new player after Brisbane-based Alliance Airlines Pty Ltd muscled into the local business.

Alliance jets in to charter race

In an already competitive airspace, Western Australia’s regional air charter sector is set to have a new player after Brisbane-based Alliance Airlines Pty Ltd muscled into the local business.

From November, Alliance will be making 18 flights a week to BHP Billiton’s Nickel West operations at Leinster and Mount Keith, its first local intra-state operation.

Alliance already operates a fly-in-fly-out service between Brisbane and Newcrest’s Telfer operations in the Pilbara.

Alliance Airlines managing director Scott McMillan said the move to operate a Western Australian service out of Perth was part of a deliberate strategy to expand into the biggest fly-in-fly-out market in the world.

“We have other resources companies talking to us, we’ll be a competitive force in the fly-in-fly-out market in WA,” he said.

Alliance has eight jets operating in Queensland and the Northern Territory, where it started life four years ago as a charter operator to the mining, tourism and government sectors.

The airline doesn’t offer scheduled services and has no plans to change that after winning the five-year BHP contract from Qantas, which had sub-contracted the service to National Jet Systems.

Alliance’s current resources client base includes Xstrata, Santos, Alcan, Zinifex and the Prospect Hill fertiliser project, which was owned by WMC until BHP took it over, introducing the airline to the resources major for the first time.

Apart from National Jet, other charter operators include Skywest Airlines Pty Ltd, Skippers Aviation Pty Ltd, Network Aviation Australia and Maroomba Airlines.

Mr McMillan said the company would initially station two aircraft at Perth for the contract and planned to have a third committed soon.

Alliance plans to have between 25 and 30 staff in Perth with all maintenance on the WA-based jets done locally. The airline has taken over the old Ansett Golden Wing lounge at the domestic airport’s terminal three, which houses Virgin and Skywest.

The privately owned Alliance has five shareholders, all in the airline business in Australia or overseas.

The company only operates 105-seat Fokker 100, which it claims allows it keep maintenance and training costs low.

It has recently been purchasing the aircraft from US Airways, one of North America’s struggling airlines.

Mr McMillan said fly-in-fly-out was unusual due to the flight patterns which fitted the demands of the customer.

“There is not a lot of activity in the middle of the day, so the aircraft don’t fly a lot of hours,” he said.

That resulted in a high fixed cost component to each contract, with aircraft being worth between $10 million and $13 million.

Mr McMillan said that, because human resources had become so important, resources companies valued high customer service with flights that operated on time with minimal delays.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options