Bristow Helicopters Australia has acquired an 85% stake in Darwin-based regional carrier Airnorth.

Bristow did not disclose how much it paid for the stake, but will appoint three directors to the airline’s board. Airnorth chief executive Michael Bridge will also be retained.

“Our new partnership with Bristow Australia will see further expansion for the company and its services to charter clients,” says Bridge. “Airnorth will continue to operate all scheduled passenger services across its current route network without interruption to existing passenger bookings.”

The airline operates on resource charter and scheduled services with a fleet of four Embraer 170s, five EMB-120ERs and three Fairchild Metro 23s.

As a codeshare partner of Qantas, its scheduled routes include a number to northern Arnhem Land towns including Groote Eylandt, Elcho Island and Gove. It also flies to Townsville, Broome, Perth and the Gold Coast, and internationally to Dili and Manila, using E170s.

Bristow Group chief executive Joanthan E Bailiff says that the acquisition “strengthens our ability to provide a complete suite of point-to-point transportation services for existing Australian-based passengers and create more integrated, logistics solutions for our global clients.”

Bridge adds that the two companies have previously worked closely together to provide integrated air services for their clients.

The acquisition move may prove a blow to Bristow’s other major fixed-wing partner in Australia, Cobham Aviation Services Australia.

Under that contract, which was recently extended out to 2020, Cobham operates BAe 146/Avro RJs and E190s on flights between Perth and Barrow Island, in support of Chevron Australia’s Gorgon offshore gas project.

In February last year, Bristow acquired a 60% share in UK regional operator Eastern Airways. It also has interests in fixed-wing affiliates in Nigeria and Brazil.

Source: Cirium Dashboard