Green and gold will replace red, white and blue as the Brisbane based Strategic Airways re-fashions itself as a budget carrier serving popular leisure routes.
Air Australia, as the carrier will be known, will initially serve select domestic routes and tourist hot-spots including Hawaii, Bali and Phuket, Thailand. The airline says it has also been granted rights to operate flights to China and the US and is in the process of doubling its number of pilots.
“We understand the challenges of the industry and we understand the market,” company CEO Michael James said in a statement. “We also believe that there is mounting nostalgia in the consumer market and in the industry for an airline which offers genuine value and makes it readily possible for families and Australians of all ages to have the chance to fly.”
The company’s first green and gold plane, A320 VH-YQC, will enter service on Friday and the red, white and blue Strategic Airlines brand will be retired by November 15.
Strategic was founded in 1991 as a broker providing wet leased aircraft to other operators in Europe and Asia. One arm of the company, Strategic Airways, held a major Defence contract to ferry Australian troops and equipment to the Middle East between 2005 and last year, when it lost the $90 million deal to rival Adagold.
Strategic Airlines launched in 2009 as a full service carrier. It was reported to have lost $2.1m in fiscal year 2008-2009 and $9.3m in 2009-2010, but executives played down those losses, saying they were due to start-up costs associated with the expansion of its fleet of Airbus A320s and A330s.
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