Australian regional airline Skytrans (QN, Cairns) is to be acquired by Avia Solutions Group. The share purchase agreement is expected to finalise in March 2024 and will provide the Ireland-based capacity provider with an Australian air operator's certificate (AOC).

Skytrans operates a fleet of five DHC-8-100s, one DHC-8-300, one DHC-8-Q300, and six Cessna (single turboprop) 208B Grand Caravans across a network of airports, primarily in Northern Queensland. The airline flies a mix of scheduled passenger operations, freight flights, ad hoc and contract charters. In recent years, Skytrans has also become a more visible presence doing fly-in-fly-out work for mining and resource companies with operations in Queensland.

Over 12 months ago, CEO Alan Milne told ch-aviation his job was all about giving the airline's owners options for the future and putting Skytrans in the best possible competitive position.

"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", says Jonas Janukenas, CEO of Avia Solutions Group.

ASG says the Skytrans deal continues the group's strategic expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. Avia is the parent entity of SmartLynx Airlines, Avion Express, and is the world's largest ACMI operator. It holds AOCs from 11 countries. Avia says by the end of 2024, in addition to Australia, it aims to acquire airlines in Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Türkiye.

Milne says the acquisition, which remains subject to specific transaction commitments, will allow Skytrans to expand its operations, fleet, and geographic reach, while strengthening its market position.