Alliance Airlines (QQ, Brisbane Int'l) will further expand its operations in northeastern Australia by opening a new base in Rockhampton, thanks to funding by the Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund financial incentive scheme.

A Queensland government statement said that with crew, maintenance, and aircraft to be based in Rockhampton, the AUD12.5 million Australian dollar (USD 8.75 million) project will bring greater connectivity, new routes, more private charters and additional tourism ventures to the coastline of central Queensland.

“For the people of Rocky, it also means that during natural disasters like flooding, fires or cyclones there will be improved access to large commercial jet aircraft,” the state's minister of development, infrastructure and planning, Cameron Dick, said.

The aim is to create a "significant" operational base in Rockhampton, Alliance Airlines' managing director Scott McMillan said. The base is expected to support up to 30 new full-time jobs in its first year of operation, growing to 58 over the next five years.

With a fleet of five Fokker 50s, fourteen Fokker 70s and twenty-five Fokker 100s, Alliance has carved out a niche in providing fly-in fly-out (FIFO) air charter services for mining and resources companies across Australia, as well as in aircraft component sales and leasing.

Located 520km north of Brisbane, Rockhampton will be the airline's third base on the Queensland coast, the others being Brisbane Int'l and Townsville. It also has bases at Perth Int'l and Adelaide.

Alliance Airlines also operates multiple routes across Australia on behalf of Virgin Australia (VA, Brisbane Int'l). However, on February 1, Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) bought a surprise 19.9% stake in the carrier with a view to buying up more of the stock in the future as it seeks to become a majority shareholder. Of particular interest to Qantas are Alliance's lucrative contracts in the resources sector, particularly in Queensland and Western Australia.

But it was Queensland-based Virgin Australia that congratulated Alliance on the new base, as it will “allow us to provide an excellent service into Rockhampton", Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said, underlining a "strong commitment to regional flying and connecting Australians around the country and the world”.