By YEHIURA HRIEHWAZI in Brisbane
A QUEENSLAND based airline which specialises in fly-in fly-out operations will open in Cairns to serve the PNG resources sector targeting the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.
This is a strategic move by the airline as Cairns and the far-north Queensland territory gears up to become the supply-hub of the LNG project with moves already underway to create a direct shipping route also between Cairns and Port Moresby.
Alliance managing director Scott McMillan said his company would base two Fokker 100 jets at Cairns airport, supported by an engineering and spares facility, administrative office and crew base.
From May 3, Brisbane-based Alliance would increase its Cairns flights from the current five departures per week to 10, and would actively explore further growth opportunities.
Initially, 20 employees, including 14 flight crew and three engineers, will be located in Cairns.
The decision to open the new base reflects the confidence Alliance has in the many business opportunities that will emerge from the resources industry in North Queensland and PNG.
Mr McMillan told Aviationrecord.com that his company currently operates a fleet of 11 Fokker 100 jets and six Fokker 50 turboprop aircraft from bases in Brisbane, Townsville, Adelaide and Perth.
“The resources industry is buoyant and growing in Queensland and in neighbouring markets including the Northern Territory and PNG,” he said.
The airline’s 100-seat Fokker 100 aircraft have a flying range of up to 2500km, or approximately 3.5 hours, enabling them to fly non-stop from Cairns to destinations as far away as Sydney, Adelaide, Broome and Honiara.
Other Alliance FIFO customers in North Queensland include BHP Billiton Cannington, Gemco and MMG. Alliance has also been active in supporting the rapidly growing cruise market in Melanesia that uses Cairns as a passenger hub.