Tag Archives: FIFO

Qantas looks to acquire Australian FIFO airline Alliance Aviation Services

Qantas says it has reached an agreement to fully acquire Australia-based operator, Alliance Aviation Services Ltd, enabling the national carrier to better serve the growing resources sector with fly-in fly-out options.

The agreement, which is subject to a vote from Alliance shareholders and competition clearance, would see Alliance become a wholly-owned part of the Qantas Group.

There is no change to Qantas’ arrangements with Alliance as a result of today’s announcement given the approvals required, which would take a minimum of several months to secure, the company said.

Alliance has a fleet of 70 jet aircraft that seat up to 100 people each, making them well suited to charter operations. Between these charter services and a small number of passenger routes that overlap with large mine sites, Alliance accounts for around 2% of the total domestic market.

The national carrier is Alliance’s biggest single customer, with a long-term agreement that sees Alliance operate up to 18 newly acquired E190 jets for QantasLink. This arrangement has helped open new direct routes and increase frequency across regional Australia, Qantas says.

Qantas bought just under 20% of Alliance in February 2019 and, at the time, flagged its long-term interest in acquiring 100% of the airline. The ACCC investigated that minority holding for three years and made no findings that it lessened competition.

Under the agreement announced today, the remaining 80% would be acquired through a scheme of arrangement where Alliance shareholders receive Qantas shares worth A$4.75 ($3.44) for each Alliance share they hold, representing a 32% premium to Alliance’s volume weighted average price for the past three months. Qantas would issue new shares valued at approximately A$614 million in a transaction that is expected to be earnings per share accretive for Qantas shareholders, before synergies.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said acquiring the remaining shares in Alliance would mean QantasLink can better compete in the highly competitive charter segment, particularly given the shared fleet type of Fokker aircraft.

“Alliance’s fleet of Fokker aircraft are perfect for efficiently serving resources customers in Western Australia and Queensland,” he said. “They also have a big inventory of spare parts that would significantly extend the practical life of a combined fleet of around almost 70 Fokkers.

“Keeping these aircraft operating reliably for longer than either carrier could achieve by themselves will help keep costs down, which is ultimately good news for charter customers. There are also benefits from bringing together our operations planning and training facilities.”

He added: “The resources sector continues to grow and any new tender for airline services will be very competitive. It makes a lot of sense for us to combine with Alliance to improve the services we can offer, which is a positive for both airlines as well as the travelling public.”

Just some of the mine sites that Alliance Aviation serves include BHP’s Western Australia Iron Ore operations, St Barbara’s Leonora mine in Western Australia, Incitec Pivot’s Phosphate Hill operation in Queensland and the BHP Nickel West operations in Western Australia.

Cobham confirms seven-year FIFO extension for Murrin Murrin mine site

Cobham Regional Services has been awarded a new seven-year contract with Minara Resources (wholly owned by Glencore), to provide fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) services to its Murrin Murrin site in the eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Minara Resources is Australia’s largest cobalt producer and a major producer of nickel, and a foundation FIFO client of Cobham.

Cobham Regional Services Managing Director, Claude Alviani, said that Cobham had been providing FIFO services to Murrin Murrin since the mine commenced operations in 1996.

“We are absolutely delighted to continue the relationship we have with Minara as their aviation partner of choice,” Alviani said. “The operators of Murrin Murrin were pioneers of FIFO in Western Australia, using an airbridge to connect workers to site well before it became common practice.

“Over the past six months, Minara has transitioned to our modern, lower carbon emission aircraft with the E190 and Q400 now servicing the site.”

Brett Fowler, General Manager, Minara Resources, said: “We are pleased to continue our relationship with Cobham, a long-term partner of the Murrin Murrin operations. We welcome the addition of the lower carbon emission aircraft to Murrin Murrin as we continue to produce the nickel and cobalt that are critical commodities for the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The new contract comes at a pivotal time for the industry in Western Australia as the State prepares to open its borders.

Cobham’s Business Development Director, Tim Pirga, said that Cobham was well positioned for transitioning to the next phase of living with COVID.

“We have a private terminal which allows us to offer bespoke solutions for COVID screening, health checks and passenger separation,” he said. “Minara will take advantage of our facility and of our experiences operating in other states where borders have been open for some time.”

Aqura Technologies to entertain more Pilbara mine workers

Aqura Technologies has been awarded a three-year Managed Services Agreement to support accommodation village entertainment networks across 17,000 additional rooms in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The A$1.4 million ($1.05 million) agreement with DXC Technology for a global Tier 1 miner means Aqura, a Veris Ltd subsidiary, now manages accommodation content access and entertainment networks across some 31,000 accommodation rooms.

Under the terms of the new agreement, which will commence immediately, Aqura will be working closely with DXC Technology as the facilities manager for the respective villages.

The scope of the engagement will see Aqura’s in-house specialists provide remote and field-based support to ensure the efficient operation and upgrades of the end clients Video Entertainment System, network distribution and Wi-Fi networks. In addition, the Managed Services Agreement will see Aqura providing large-scale Managed Wi-Fi, Distribution networks (Fibre-optic and DOCSIS), MATV (free to air TV) and Network management platforms which integrate to provide a seamless, and positive user experience, it said.

Aqura Technologies CEO, Travis Young, said: “This engagement is a significant recognition of Aqura’s capability and specialist skill-set in the management of the efficient operation of large-scale content access networks in remote areas.

“The management of 31,000 accommodation rooms across multiple villages, for a range of end-clients, is a unique position for an Australian business. It is a great reflection of the strength of our in-house product development teams that have developed the technology that enables the optimisation of an in-room end-user complete content access experience remotely.”

Alliance extends Newmont Tanami aviation services agreement

Alliance Aviation Services has executed a contract extension with Newmont Mining to continue chartering flights for the miner to the Granites Mine Site in the Northern Territory of Australia from bases in Perth, Darwin and Brisbane.

The three-year agreement servicing Newmont’s Tanami mine in the Northern Territory extends the current contract with the miner until 2024.

“This contract is considered by Alliance to be material as it is forecast to represent between 5% and 7% of revenue in the next 12 months,” the company said.

Alliance has been providing services to Newmont continuously for the last nine years, with Lee Schofield, Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, saying the company is “thrilled” to be continuing this relationship.

“Air charter services to Newmont’s mine site have increased over the last nine years and it is the only site in Australia where we fly into from three different states/territories,” he said.

“This contract extension was won due to the ability of Alliance to continue to operate safe, reliable and cost-effective air charter services for Newmont.”

Newmont says Tanami is a fly-in, fly-out operation in one of Australia’s most remote locations.

Alliance stays in the air with South32 Cannington, GEMCO contract

Alliance Aviation Services says it has entered a new airline services contract with South32, as agent for each of its Cannington and GEMCO routes.

Alliance will be the sole supplier for these services, according to the company, continuing a relationship with the mine sites that began in 2006.

The extension, from 2020-2030, was won through a competitive tender process and is testament to Alliance’s safety record, on time performance and competitiveness in the marketplace, according to the ASX-listed service provider.

Lee Schofield, Alliance’s CEO, said: “Alliance is delighted to be continuing the provision of these services for both Cannington and GEMCO mine sites from Townsville, Cairns and Brisbane. This new contract will see Alliance flying a minimum of 35 sectors per week.

“For the next 10 years Alliance will also be servicing South32’s charter requirements from Darwin. This will result in a significant increase in our permanent presence in the Northern Territory, which in turn should provide significant new opportunities for Alliance, particularly in tourism.”

GEMCO, in the Northern Territory of Australia, is an open-cut mining operation, producing high-grade manganese ore that is shipped to South32’s Tasmania manganese alloy plant and around the world.

The Cannington underground silver-lead mine, in Queensland, is made up of a 3 Mt/y underground mine and processing plant (pictured).

Australia fly-in fly-out specialist bolsters aircraft fleet

Alliance Aviation Services says it has entered into a binding purchase agreement with Swiss airline, Helvetic Airways AG, for the purchase of five Fokker 100 aircraft and the entirety of Helvetic’s spare engines, parts and tooling offering.

This acquisition continues to build on the strategic rationale of Alliance’s purchase of 21 Fokker aircraft from Austrian Airlines, in December 2015, the company says, enhancing the company’s ability to expand its fleet as more opportunities present themselves in Australia and the South Pacific. This is particularly so in contract aviation and wet lease services, the company said.

Alliance has several aviation contracts in place with mining companies with operations in remote parts of Australia that have a fly-in fly-out service for their employees.

The rationale for the deal, according to Alliance, includes boosting the economic life of Alliance’s fleet and reducing future capital expenditure requirements by securing low cost major components; reinforcing Alliance’s position as the largest supplier of engines and spare parts outside of Fokker; and further diversifying Alliance’s revenue streams.

Scott McMillan, Managing Director for Alliance Airlines, said: “Since the 2015 fleet purchase, we have increased our operational fleet by 11 aircraft to meet the needs of a resurgent resources sector, satisfy the demand for wet-lease services and service the growing opportunities within the tourism sector. We have also successfully on-sold several of the Austrian fleet as well establishing ongoing engine leases and we continue to sell increasing amounts of spare parts to all the major Fokker operators in the southern hemisphere.”

Alliance and BHP Nickel West extend air charter services agreement

Alliance Aviation Services Limited has extended the air charter services to BHP Nickel West for a further five years.

This service, which has been operational since November 2006, was Alliance’s initial service in Western Australia and has become the cornerstone for the company developing a large presence in the state, the company said.

Lee Schofield, Alliance’s CEO, said: “Alliance has worked with BHP Nickel West as a partner in the provision of these services accommodating changes during the resources downturn and now we are experiencing growth of up to 17 charters per week as economic conditions continue to improve.

“As with our other resources customers throughout Australia, we are seeing growth in the number of charters as the current demand for resources is maintained and production increases.”

In July, Alliance won a three-year extension to its aviation services contract with St Barbara’s Leonora gold operations in the state.

BHP Nickel West, meanwhile, has recently signed a mining services contract extension with Thiess, part of the CIMIC Group, to continue operations at the Leinster underground mine.

Cobham Aviation wins FIFO extension with OZ Minerals Carrapateena copper-gold mine

Cobham Aviation Services has secured a three-year contract with OZ Minerals to provide fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) services between Adelaide, Port Augusta and its Carrapateena copper-gold project in South Australia.

Over three years, Cobham will operate 14 flights each week between the locations with a RJ 100 aircraft servicing the route. Services began last month.

This is the second OZ Minerals contract Cobham has secured in recent years. The company has operated all FIFO services to and from OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine since 2017.

Cobham Aviation Services Vice President of Regional Services, Dean Brennan said the contract win reflects Cobham’s continued competitive offering within the FIFO environment.

“The Carrapateena project is significant for South Australia and its economy. Cobham is delighted to play its part in such an important development and continuing its relationship with OZ Minerals.”

Cobham has provided aviation services to the mining and resource sector in Australia for more than 25 years.

Carapateena, 160 km north of Port Augusta in South Australia’s highly prospective Gawler Craton, is one of Australia’s largest undeveloped copper deposits. The project will be a 4.25 Mt/y underground operation, with an estimated mine life of 20 years.

Construction of Carrapateena is underway and commissioning is scheduled for the December quarter of 2019 after which the project will ramp up to steady state production.

St Barbara’s FIFO Alliance continues at Leonora

Alliance Aviation Services will continue to fly workers in and out of St Barbara’s Leonora gold operations in Western Australia after the two companies agreed to extend the air charter services contract for another three years.

Alliance has been providing these fly in/fly out services to St Barbara since 2012 and will continue to arrange eight flights per week between Perth and Leonora.

Lee Schofield, Chief Executive Officer for Alliance, said the flexibility of Alliance’s fleet, “together with industry leading on time performance, greatly assisted Alliance in retaining this contract”.

This is the fifth contract Alliance has retained in a “selective tender process” over the past 12 months. Recently, Alliance received a potential five-year extension with Incitec Pivot for services to its Phosphate Hill operations in northwest Queensland.

St Barbara’s Gwalia mine is just 3 km south of Leonora in Western Australia. It produced 268,000 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of A$891 per ounce in the 12 months to the end of June. The company is currently in the process of evaluating a deep underground extension to the mine, which could see operations continue until the end of St Barbara’s 2013 financial year.

Alliance and Incitec Pivot extend FIFO contract at Phosphate Hill

Mine and plant workers will continue to have a fly in/fly out (FIFO) option at the Phosphate Hill operations in northwest Queensland, Australia, after Alliance Aviation extended its air charter services contract with owner Incitec Pivot.

The contract has been extended for three years with a bolt on two-year option that could see the service continue until 2021.

Incitec Pivot expects to produce 880,000 tonnes of ammonium phosphates from the operation in the year to the end of September, below the 975,000 tonne per year capacity. Phosphate Hill consists of its own mine and ore processing facility, in addition to beneficiation, ammonia, phosphoric acid and granulation plants.

Alliance has been providing air charter services to Phosphate Hill, 1,000 km from Townsville, since 2002. It provides these from its Townsville and Brisbane bases.

Lee Schofield, Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Flying into Phosphate Hill commenced in 2002 – the same year in which Alliance was established – and we are delighted to have retained this foundation contract for a further five years. By the conclusion of this new contract, Alliance will have been flying into Phosphate Hill for a continuous period of 19 years.”