Australia's last surviving privately-owned airline, Brisbane-based regional FlightWest Airlines, shut down on 19 June when its sole owners, the Buchanan family, placed it in voluntary liquidation.


The closure followed Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) recent issue of a notice requiring the carrier to "show cause" why its operating certificate should not be cancelled or suspended over alleged breaches. In response, FlightWest had committed to making major changes.

FlightWest's closure stranded hundreds of passengers at 34 destinations, many of them remote settlements without alternative access.

The airline's 400 staff were told FlightWest had succumbed to "an unprecedented chain of events", including a low Australian dollar, sustained high fuel prices and intense competition resulting in plummeting yield. It also told employees that the company's assets exceeded liabilities by A$6 million ($3 million).

FlightWest's fleet of Fokker F28-400s, Fokker 100s, Embraer Brasilias and BAe Jetstream 32EPs served major along Queensland's coastal strip.

Source: Flight International