1 February 2024

BREAKING: Skytrans sold to overseas aviation company

| Matt Nicholls
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Skytrans CEO Alan Milne.

The biggest airline in Cape York and the Torres Strait has been sold to a major international aviation company.

Avia Solutions Group, the world’s largest ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) provider with a fleet of 199 aircraft, has signed a Share Purchase Agreement to acquire Skytrans.

The acquisition process is planned to be completed in March, subject to the fulfillment of transaction conditions.

“Skytrans is an Australian-owned and operated airline and air charter business. The airline operates Regular Public Transport (RPT) and charter services, with a current fleet spanning 13 regional aircraft,” Avia said in a statement.

“The acquisition of Skytrans will grant the group an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) in Australia, allowing it to operate both passenger and cargo flights.

“This is a significant step in the strategic expansion of the group in the Asia-Pacific region. Avia Solutions Group currently holds 11 AOCs globally. By the end of 2024, the group aims to establish and acquire seven additional airlines in various countries, including Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, and Turkey.”

Skytrans CEO Alan Milne said the acquisition could unlock new possibilities for the airline.

“Becoming a part of the group will give us the chance to benefit from the best business practices and experience, as well as expanding our operations, fleet, and geographic reach, while strengthening our position in the market,” he said.

The Queensland government will keep a close eye on how the airline runs under the new ownership.

Not only does the Department of Transport and Main Roads provide a local fare scheme to most of Skytrans’ ports, the government also relies on the airline to fly critical workers to remote communities.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads will continue to engage with the management of Skytrans to maintain affordable travel for Queenslanders living in remote communities to access to health, education, allied services, and to assist in promoting social and recreational connections,” a TMR spokesperson said.

Cape York mayors are hoping the new ownership will lead to more investment.

Skytrans has struggled with schedule reliability due to a national shortage of pilots.

Jonas Janukenas, the CEO of Avia Solutions Group, indicated expansion of Skytrans could be on the cards.

“One of the main strategic objectives of the group is to expand into markets that have the opposite seasonality to Europe. Australia is a new addition to our group’s global footprint, where we see significant potential and growth opportunities, enabling us to offer ACMI services,” he said.

Avia Solutions Group is the parent company to SmartLynx Airlines, Avion Express, AirExplore, KlasJet, Magma Aviation, and more, operating worldwide.

The group also comprises a leading global provider of MRO services, FL Technics, with 100 line maintenance stations worldwide and maintenance hangars in Lithuania, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom.

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