Alliance flying high after winning big BHP mining contract

Alliance flying high after winning big BHP mining contract

QUEENSLAND-based charter operator Alliance Airlines will move two Fokker F100 jets to Perth and set up a base employing more than 20 people after winning a key fly-in, fly-out mining contract with BHP Billiton’s Nickel West.

Alliance announced yesterday it had won a five-year contract to fly 18 return flights a week to Nickel West operations based at Mt Keith and Leinster in the Eastern Goldfields.

The privately owned Queensland operator also said it intended to boost its fleet of F100s from eight to 11 as it capitalised on the resources boom and the popularity of fly-in, fly-out mines.

Alliance has already doubled its fleet since 2004 and boasts the world’s longest fly-in, fly-out route between Brisbane and Telfer in Western Australia. The airline will base its West Australian facilities at Perth Airport’s Terminal Three, where it will run its own check-in desks and a lounge for workers.

Alliance managing director Scott McMillan said the airline would relocate or employ 23 personnel at the base and expected to appoint a general manager for Western Australia later this month.

Mr McMillan said it was logical for Alliance to be operating in the two Australian states benefiting from the resources boom. He said Alliance would base two of the 105-seat Fokker twin jets in Perth with a third expected to join them next year.

The Fokker F100 was ideally suited to the routes because its impressive operational characteristics enabled high payloads in Western Australia.

“The F100′s speed and altitude capability ensures superior passenger comfort levels,” Mr McMillan said.

Alliance rose from the ashes of Flight West in 2002 and maintains a heavy maintenance centre, major crew base and operations centre in Brisbane. In addition to the mining industry, it supplies charter services for the federal Government and has planes flying for Air Niugini.

In other charter news, Ozjet will base a plane at Norfolk Island to serve the resort’s tourist market and boost its Sydney flights from next month.

The plane will fly in “Norfolk Air” livery and use cabin crew employed on the island.

© The Australian

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