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Bristow and Airnorth Pursuing Successful Integration of Rotary and Fixed Wing Operations

July 10, 2015

Major step forward in providing integrated solutions to clients

Bristow Group took a major step toward becoming a leader in providing point-to-point transportation services with the acquisition of Airnorth, Australia's largest regional airline operating across Northern Australia and Australia's second oldest airline, second only to Qantas.

The acquisition of Airnorth takes Bristow Australia’s existing operations beyond rotary-wing to include direct fixed-wing services. “With Airnorth, we are positioned to provide ‘one journey’ passenger services, all booked and managed for our clients through Bristow Travel (Australia),” says Allan Blake, regional director, Asia Pacific. “We can better serve our oil and gas clients developing projects offshore Northwest Australia and have the ability to provide service to potential new client segments, such as business and leisure passengers traveling to regional and remote communities, as well as resource industry workers.” He adds that the company expects to gain access to key Southeast Asia markets.

In February, Bristow acquired an 85 percent interest in the fixed-wing carrier, which has a long history of profitable operations and growth as the dominant scheduled airline and contract charter operator in the region.

Seamless Connectivity
With a fleet of 13 aircraft, Airnorth operates more than 200 weekly flights – both scheduled and charter services – serving more than 20 destinations across four countries. This includes domestic ports across Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, and internationally to Timor-Leste, Indonesia and the Philippines. The company provides the bulk of flying to many remote oil and gas operations and indigenous communities, and is a Darwin/Northern Territory-based Qantas codeshare partner. Through its partnership with Qantas Airways, Airnorth offers seamless connectivity, including check-in and interline baggage facilities.

Seamless Transition
Airnorth has a reputation as an exceptional operator with an excellent safety culture and sustained profitability over time. Similar to Bristow’s Eastern Airways acquisition, Airnorth will retain its name and brand identity and will operate under the direction of Daniel Bowden, Airnorth’s CEO.

The integration of Airnorth into Bristow Group has proceeded smoothly, with 100 percent of the top priority integration goals being met and nearly two-thirds of all identified integration goals successfully completed within the first three months. Both Airnorth and Bristow management teams have worked closely together to ensure a seamless integration without missing a beat in their busy day-to-day operations. “This has been achieved during a period of significant growth for both businesses and is a testament to how well the two teams have come together,” says Blake. Supply chain synergies have already achieved more than US$1 million per annum in anticipated operational savings. The teams have identified more supplier cost-saving opportunities that are currently being worked upon to deliver bottom-line benefits to the Group. Planning is also well underway for Airnorth to provide cost-effective fixed-wing solutions for Bristow staff and freight traveling between remote bases in the North of Australia.

The teams have achieved another major step in client service: the commencement of Bristow’s helicopter operations from Truscott Airbase for a major client, in which Bristow and Airnorth together are delivering fully integrated passenger services. Bristow Travel (Australia) is handling both fixed-wing bookings and helicopter scheduling; Airnorth is handling terminal operations and fixed-wing services between Darwin and Truscott, and Bristow is operating the rotary-wing services from Truscott to the client’s pipe laying barge.

“Many of our global clients want a fully integrated passenger service, including travel services, as they seek to refocus on their core business,” says Blake. “This acquisition has allowed us to deliver a more costeffective transport solution with the potential to reduce client costs associated with travel, accommodation and passenger logistics.”

This article appeared in Bristow World Issue 2, 2015. View the full magazine here.