Queensland Airline Holdings (QAH), a new aviation services company based in Brisbane, has acquired the former independent regional carrier Flight West Airlines. The airline was placed in voluntary liquidation last June by its owner, the Buchanan family.

QAH's main backer is aviation businessman Hugh Jones, the majority shareholder in New Zealand's Airwork, and Stephen Bond, owner of Adelaide-based Lloyd Helicopters. Bond has interests in helicopter operator Bond Air Services and Scottish regional airline Loganair.

QAH plans to restructure the company under a new name. The 100 Flight West employees have been reappointed and former chief financial officer Scott McMillan is to be chief executive.

McMillan says the new airline will provide contract and ad hoc charters, heavy maintenance of aircraft and some scheduled services.

QAH has acquired two Fokker 100s from Capital Finance Australia, which was a major secured creditor of Flight West and is now providing financial and other support to the new company.

Initially, the company intends to operate the Fokker 100s and Flight West's Embraer Brasilias on long-term contract, wet lease and charter services, and hopes to take over FlightWest's long-term contracts with resources companies. QAH has also won the contract to refurbish and maintain two Fokker F28s which Air Niugini purchased from the former Flight West fleet.

Australiawide Airlines, an offshoot of ANStaff, led by former Ansett pilots, were expecting funding approval last week to cement their bid for former Ansett regionals Hazelton and Kendell Airlines. Kendell administrator Mark Mentha says there are no plans to ground the airline and that a buyer would be announced "in the near future".

Source: Flight International