03/05/2017 - 13:43

Rossair refines flight plan

03/05/2017 - 13:43

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South Australian charter airline Rossair Charter Services is making a push into Western Australia, as it refines operations following the recent acquisition of Perth-based Ad Astral Aviation.

Rossair refines flight plan
Warren Puvanendran is working on the integration of Rossair and Ad Astral Aviation.

South Australian charter airline Rossair Charter Services is making a push into Western Australia, as it refines operations following the recent acquisition of Perth-based Ad Astral Aviation.

Among Rossair’s offerings in WA will be high-end tourism and VIP travel packages.

Former Perth resident and Rossair chief executive officer Warren Puvanendran, who was previously an executive at Cobham Aviation, said the company would be targeting resources work initially, with the VIP tourism business expected to launch in the Perth market in the first quarter of 2018.

However, the first task would be to streamline the recently merged businesses, which operate six planes between them under two federal aviation licences.

That will be completed in coming months, Mr Puvanendran said, with everything to be integrated under the Rossair banner.

The acquisition was completed in the middle of last year, he said.

Mr Puvanendran said the company had targeted WA as it was the country’s largest fly-in, fly-out market, and Rossair hoped to grow its footprint beyond that, he said.

“Currently our flying operations for Ad Astral out of Perth is for Saracen Mineral Holdings, and we have a lot of ad hoc stuff for the remote exploratory type mine sites where there’s no major aviation or runway infrastructure,” Mr Puvanendran said.

“We have some exciting work in the pipeline that is mainly mining, oil and gas related.

“We are expanding our charter brokerage side of our business as well, Rossair Travel.

“We do a lot of charter work through Rossair Travel for companies and VIPs hosting visitors.

“(It’s) a part of the business we are paying some attention to because it’s very lucrative.”

The local market is particularly competitive in the fly-in, fly-out space, as project completions and the drop in commodity prices reduce demand.

Mr Puvanendran said Rossair had a similar experience with its energy industry contracts into the Cooper Basin, where the company does work for Schlumberger and Santos, among others.

The company had to adapt and scale down as the industry restructuring went on, according to Mr Puvanendran.

“We saw a significant downturn in our operations based on the downturn in the oil and gas industry,” he said.

“One of the things that we’ve tried to do … is lean out the process as much as possible.”

Examples of that included improving processes and efficiencies in areas such as stock for catering.

“We’ve been able to do that without losing people, and we’ve been able to maintain a level of aircraft and crew capability, that we expect when things do improve we’d be able to scale up with them,” Mr Puvanendran said.

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