Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 - Central Airlines
The renewed focus on coal and other energy exports has resulted in a surge in demand for air charter companies to service the lucrative fly-in fly-out employment market.

Emerald based Central Airlines, which already services the needs of a number of Bowen Basin mines, is looking to expand by upgrading its fleet to better service existing clients and take a share of new opportunities.

Director Alec Mercer says the company’s rapid expansion is due to increased demand for the fly-in fly-out (FIFO) service to transport mine personnel.

“Due to lack of labour and accommodation and the delayed travel time by road, the solution to move staff in and out of mining sites by aircraft is now the preferred option for the industry,” Mr Mercer says.

“FIFO allows key personnel to spend more time on site and less time in transit and increases overall productivity.

“With $100 billion in mining projects slated for the central Queensland region we expect this demand to exponentially increase and we intend to be in a position as provider of choice for any new ventures.”

The company plans to upgrade its current fleet of 10 single and multi-engine Piper aircraft with the addition of two 19-seat turbo prop and two pressurised turbo prop aircraft, with future plans to include a 14-seat aircraft.

Mr Mercer says existing contractual arrangements with Rio Tinto demand an upgrade to turbo prop aircraft through an increase in flights and capacity between their Mackay and Clermont mines.

“To meet this demand we recently completed construction of a 35 metre by 30 metre purpose-built hangar facility at Emerald Airport however now require a capital injection to really take advantage of the situation,” Mr Mercer says.

Central Airlines is initially raising $3.25 million as part of a $20 million capital raising to fund the expansion.

Melbourne-based corporate advisory firm Corporate Outcomes Group Ltd is handling the capital raising and views the company as attractive and well placed to grow and take advantage of the renewed interest in the mining industry.

Chief corporate adviser Adrian Cran says the company needs more aircraft to be able to service the existing FIFO requirements of the mines in the Bowen and Galilee basins and to cater for any new mines that are due to open.

“In the first half of this year China imported almost 4.5 times the tonnage of coking coal as it did in the same period last year resulting in a number of new mines either opening or being considered,” Mr Cran says.

“There is also a huge amount of interest in coal seam gas and other energy sources which will all require a FIFO component to properly service their operations.

“Regular commercial flights only reach the nearest commercial airport, where as private charters such as Central Airlines can land and depart from the exact locations of the mines.

“It’s this growth in the industry that will underpin the company’s expansion and provide a very astute investment opportunity.”

Central Airlines intends to explore other opportunities throughout Queensland with its business model targeting long-term contracts within niche mining markets as well as specialised aircraft requirements such as domestic and international surveillance, international charter, and aero-medical services.

The company recently acquired an international licence enabling it operate charters into Singapore, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the western Pacific region with further growth possible through strategic buyouts of existing operations already under consideration.

Another key growth area for Central Airlines is in aircraft maintenance as it is the only local maintenance facility with the number of private aircraft based at Emerald steadily growing.

The company began as Central Highlands Air Taxi in 1982 to service the local agricultural market and was officially renamed Central Airlines Pty Ltd in 2008, now concentrating mainly on contracted regular FIFO services for the mining sector. The company changed to a public company earlier this month.

Central Airlines clientele include BHP, Rio Tinto, Xstrata, Anglo Coal, and BMA (BHP Mitsubishi Alliance), The Royal Flying Doctors Service, Toll and Major Drilling.

ENDS

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Bruce Nelson on 0423 403 449

Contact Profile

Central Airlines


Emerald based Central Airlines, which already services the needs of a number of Bowen Basin mines, is looking to expand by upgrading its fleet to better service existing clients and take a share of new opportunities.
Bruce Nelson
P: 0423 403 449
M: 0423 403 449
W: www.centralairlines.com.au/

Keywords

The renewed focus on coal and other energy exports has resulted in a surge in demand for air charter companies to service the lucrative fly-in fly-out employment market.

Sharing

More Formats