Aero-Tropics Air Services
|Commenced operations||February 2000|
|Ceased operations||October 2008|
|Operating bases||Cairns Airport|
|Hubs||Horn Island Airport|
|Headquarters||Cairns, Queensland, Australia|
Lip-Air Pty Ltd, operating as Aero-Tropics Air Services (ATAS), was an airline based in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Its main base was Cairns Airport, with its operating hub at Horn Island Airport.
Lip-Air Pty Ltd was a privately owned company established by the Lippmann family in 1995. The company's Aero Tropics Air Services (ATAS) division started operating air charters in 1997, serving the region of Torres Strait, Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria. ATAS obtained a Regular Public Transport licence in February 2000 from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and began operating daily scheduled services to/ from and between the Torres Strait Islands. In March 2007 it had 50 employees. It grew from one 5-seat Partenavia P.68 aircraft based on Coconut Island to a fleet of eighteen aircraft based at Karumba, Horn Island and Cairns. As of November 2008 it operated scheduled domestic services to 12 destinations in the Torres Strait Islands. In late June 2008 the airline was grounded for five days by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). As a result, the Queensland Government removed the Government contract for Aero-Tropics delivering mail and some supplies, flying to many remote Cape York towns. The contract was awarded to West Wing Aviation. In October 2008 CASA grounded the airline again after two incidents on successive days prompted concerns about the airline's training and supervision of its pilots. The second grounding proved to be permanent, as the airline went into liquidation the following month.
Incidents and accidents
On 7 May 2005 a Transair-operated Fairchild Metro III operating an Aero Tropics service (Flight 675 from Bamaga) was carrying out an approach to Lockhart River aerodrome in Queensland, when it hit the 1,300 ft Pap Ridge 90 ft below its highest point in low cloud and squally rain. The two crew and thirteen passengers died in the accident, in what as of November 2008 is the worst airline accident in Australia for forty years. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau initial factual report states the aircraft's power settings at impact appeared normal for an approach, but that the aircraft was about 1,000 ft below the minimum obstacle clearance height for that position.
As of July 2008, the Aero-Tropics Air Services (ATAS) fleet consisted of:
- 4 Aero Commander 500S Shrike Commander
- 1 Beechcraft King Air B200
- 6 Britten-Norman BN2A Islander
- 2 Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
At the time of liquidation, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) showed that the airline owned the following aircraft:
- 5 Britten-Norman BN2A Islander
- 2 Aero Commander 500S Shrike Commander
- 2 Piper PA-31 Navajo
- 2 Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
- 1 Cessna 172N
As of July 2008, Aero-Tropics Air Services (ATAS) operated scheduled domestic services to the following destinations:
- Badu Island – Badu Island Airport
- Boigu Island – Boigu Island Airport
- Cairns – Cairns Airport
- Coconut Island (Poruma Island) – Coconut Island Airport
- Darnley Island (Erub Island) – Darnley Island Airport
- Horn Island – Horn Island Airport (hub)
- Kubin Village (Moa Island) – Kubin Airport
- Mabuiag Island – Mabuiag Island Airport
- Murray Island – Murray Island Airport
- Saibai Island – Saibai Island Airport
- Warraber Island (Sue Islet) – Warraber Island Airport
- Yam Island (Iama Island) – Yam Island Airport
- Yorke Island – Yorke Island Airport
- "Australian Business Number (ABN) 88 068 117 537: LIP-AIR PTY. LIMITED". Australian Business Register (ABR).
- "Air Operator Certificate for Lip-Air". Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Retrieved 19 November 2008.[dead link] As the airline no longer exists, conducting a search now does not produce the same result.
- "Home page". Aero Tropics Air Services (ATAS). Archived from the original on 19 July 2008.
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 27 March 2007. p. 50.
- "Company profile". Aero Tropics Air Services. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008.
- "Route map". Aero Tropics Air Services. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008.
- "Aero Tropics apologises over grounding". The Australian. 5 October 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
- "Aerotropics told to liquidate". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 18 November 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
- Flight International July 2005
- "Fleet". Aero Tropics Air Services. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008.
- "CASA civil aircraft register search, using "Lip-Air" as the search parameter". Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Retrieved 19 November 2008.[dead link] As the airline no longer exists, conducting a search now does not produce the same result.