One of the fastest 30-seat aircraft available for charter out of Adelaide has been introduced to the fleet of SA premier air charter specialist, Air South, in a move adding significant capacity to Australia’s regional aviation routes and boosting South Australian employment numbers in the sector.
The expansion includes the arrival this week at Air South’s Adelaide Airport terminal of the first of two newly acquired Embraer Brasilia 120s – the second of which will be delivered early in 2015.
The new acquisitions will see South Australian-owned AE Charter Services, which operates Air South and its sister charter operator, Rossair, add an additional seven operating staff to take its total pilot and cabin crew complement to 23.
The Embraer Brasilia 120 is a 30-seater, cabin-style aircraft and will be among the largest aircraft of its type available for charter based at the Airport.
The aircraft type is used extensively throughout the world by major operators including Skywest which currently operates 44 of the type throughout the United States.
A twin-prop, the Embraer Brasilia can fly at speeds up to 100km per hour faster than any other similar sized offerings such as the SAAB 340 currently used for regular regional passenger transport in Australia by other airlines.
It is also ideally suited to strategic regional airports such as Coober Pedy, Whyalla, Moomba, Kingscote, Port Lincoln, Alice Springs, Broken Hill and even further afield.
With a maximum flying range fully laden of 800 kilometres, the new acquisitions are capable of flying routes out of Adelaide into eastern WA, the Northern Territory, far west Queensland, western NSW and well into regional Victoria.
The new Air South aircraft will be piloted by a Captain and a First Officer, and will also feature an in-flight cabin attendant.
In addition to on-board toilet facilities, it is the only aircraft of its size to feature an Auxillary Power Unit (APU) able to deliver on-board air conditioning while stationery on the tarmac or taxiing, but also enabling exclusive total cabin comfort for boarding and departing passengers in regional areas that face extreme temperature variables.
Air South-Rossair Director, Mr Mark Lindh:
“What the Embraer Brasilia aircraft delivers to our group is a balance of safety, speed, comfort and remote airstrip capability that complements our existing fleet performance, while offering additional customer capacity and level of service.
“It is an ideal aircraft for moving larger scale personnel and cargo to regional centres around Australia.
“The introduction of these aircraft gives companies and governments a real alternative to the traditional Australian airlines in transporting their people to regional areas, with the flexibility of working to their own specific schedules, particularly those who wish to reside in the Adelaide region, in an efficient, safe and cost effective way.”
SA Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, the Hon. Mr Tom Koutsantonis, MP, said the two new aircraft will enable more fly-in fly-out (FIFO) services to the State’s Cooper-Eromanga Basins, the most productive onshore oil province in Australia, and mining centres.
“The aircraft will play an important role in minerals and resources sector growth which is poised to deliver billions of investment dollars to South Australia,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“The expansion of the fleet showcases how valuable the supply chain is to the resources industry, given the continued development of the mining sector in South Australia and the need to transport workers.
“In the 2014-15 Budget, $4 million has been allocated for the construction of a new open access, sealed airstrip at Innamincka to service the oil and gas industry and the local community.
“This new airstrip will be able to be used by the new Air South aircraft as an ideal location to allow energy developers to take advantage of the potential for unconventional gas in the region.”
Largest air charter fleet in SA
With the acquisition of the two Embraer Brasilias, Air South and Rossair Charter – already the only South Australian air charter operators owning and operating aircraft with more than 10 seat capacity – will have the largest fleet of charter aircraft in South Australia, with a total of 12 aircraft available for charter from 2015.
The combined and expanded fleet of aircraft consists of five Cessna 441 Conquests (9-seater), three Beechcraft 1900D (19-seater), a Beechcraft King Air (9-seater) and a Cessna 404 Titan (freight specific), and when fully arrived, the two Embraer Brasilias, which will have a capacity of 30 passengers each.
Rossair Charter and Air South regularly fly from Adelaide to most South Australian regional centres as well as more difficult to reach locations across the Outback, and in particular, the oil and gas rich production and exploration footprints of the Cooper-Eromanga Basin.
With more than 60 outbound charter flights a week, the Air South-Rossair offering has attracted a clientele ranging across corporate organisations, Executive & Government VIPs, mining and energy companies and government departments, as well as specialist one-off tourism focused bookings.
Each of the aircraft in the fleet features modern avionics and aircraft systems with extremely high standards in passenger comfort and convenience.
The nine-seater Cessna Conquest and King Air are able to fly into more remote locations such as Butlers and Innamincka, with gravel airstrips and shorter runways, getting FIFO personnel closer to mine sites without incurring extra travel time from some of the larger sealed airstrips further from the mine.
The 600kph Beechcraft 1900D is a larger offering, seating up to 19 passengers and requires two crew, enabling organisations to move larger numbers of personnel into and out of remote locations .
These aircraft are able to fly into Ballera and Moomba with flying times comparable to large jetliners over short journeys.
Both Air South and Rossair operate to safety and flying protocols comparable to major airlines with significant back-up in maintenance procedures, crew training, operational procedures and planning.