April 1, 2015 Re-branded
|Hubs||Horn Island Airport|
|Parent company||Collings Aircraft Holdings|
|Headquarters||Cairns, Queensland, Australia|
David Barnard & Sue Barnard, Founders
Johnathan Thurston, Shareholder
Skytrans Airlines is a Queensland owned and operated airline and air charter business based in Cairns. The airline operates scheduled RPT and charter services from Cairns, Horn Island and Brisbane. After being placed in administration in January 2015, Skytrans returned to the skies on 31 March 2015.
Skytrans was founded by David and Sue Barnard in October 1990 as a charter airline, and began scheduled flights in 1993. In November 2000, Skytrans merged with AirSwift Aviation, another small regional airline based in Cairns. In June 2001, Skytrans took over services to Cooktown and Karumba from MacAir Airlines. In January 2005, the airline began to operate in competition with QantasLink on the Cairns to Townsville route, operating from its own terminals in both cities.
In December 2006, the airline was acquired from its founders by Australian Aviation Holdings, owner of Queensland Regional Airlines (QRA) and Inland Pacific Air. Skytrans and QRA subsequently merged under the Skytrans banner.
Late in 2014, the carrier had sought to reduce costs by cutting its workforce of 200 employees by over half while trimming its fleet of seven Dash 8-100s and three Dash 8-300s.
Skytrans suspended operations with effect from 2 January 2015 when placed in voluntary administration. In a statement, Managing Director Simon Wild blamed the worsening Australian dollar currency exchange rate, coupled with a tough operating environment — worsened by the loss of three Queensland regulated regional air routes in late 2014. The end of operations came a day after the carrier marked its 25th anniversary of Queensland services - outback and regional Queensland, the Gulf country and Cape York services in particular on January 2, 2015.
On 31 March 2015, Skytrans returned to the skies under the ownership of Collings Holdings Airlines owned by Peter Collings, who also owns West Wing Aviation, and Rugby League player Johnathan Thurston.
Destinations served from Cairns Airport:
- Coen (served in conjunction with sister company West Wing Aviation)
- Lockhart River
- Northern Peninsula Area (Bamaga)
- Horn Island
Destinations served from Horn Island Airport:
- Northern Peninsula Area (Bamaga)
- Kubin Village (Moa Island)
- Badu Island
- Mabuiag Island
- Boigu Island
- Saibai Island
- Murray Island (Mer)
- Darnley Island (Erub)
- Yam Island (Iama)
- Coconut Island
- Yorke Island
- Warraber Island
Destinations served from Brisbane Airport:
Skytrans had delivered multimillion-dollar sponsorships and endorsements to communities in Queensland, donating to more than 250 organisations before its demise. Skytrans was a major sponsor of the Cairns Taipans in the National Basketball League and supported various causes such as AFL Kickstart, Choice Business Australia, The Queensland Cancer Council, and Harold's House.
- "RAAA| Aviation History". www.raaa.com.au. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
- "Skytrans". www.aviationcollection.org. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
- Cairns based Skytrans regional airline closes operations ABC News 3 January 2015
- Skytrans flies again in far north Queensland Sydney Morning Herald 31 March 2015
- Jonathon Thurston steps up to help kick start Skytrans airline The Australian 1 April 2015
- "Skytrans Route Map".
- "SKYTRANS SOARS WITH NEW $25 MILLION CONTRACT" (PDF).
- "CASA Aircraft Register".
- "Rex won't match high flying generosity of former rival Skytrans". www.theaustralian.com.au. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
Media related to Skytrans Airlines at Wikimedia Commons