Alliance Airlines is to acquire the entire Austrian Airlines fleet of 21 Fokker 100 and Fokker 70 aircraft under a deal that will see Alliance diversify its operations into Europe, and the Lufthansa-owned Austrian become a shareholder in Alliance.
The US$15 million deal, announced on Wednesday, will see Alliance acquire Austrian’s 15 Fokker 100s and six Fokker 70s over a 26-month period from December, and comprises a US$9.5 million cash payment and the issuing of new shares to Austrian Airlines worth US$5.5 million (giving it a 12 per cent stake in the company).
“This purchase now provides Alliance with the opportunity to expand Alliance’s revenue stream into new areas and geographies and also provides a cost-effective long-term supply of parts to our existing Fokker fleet,” Alliance managing director Scott McMillan said in a statement.
“These opportunities both in Australia and through the establishment of an office in Europe will allow Alliance to generate new income streams that are not directly related to the Australian fly-in/fly-out resources sector.”
Alliance says the ex-Austrian aircraft will be acquired by wholly-owned subsidiary Alliance Aviation Services Slovakia, and will be available for wet and dry leasing, for future onward sale, or for breaking up for spare parts for reconditioning and resale, where the aircraft’s engines could also be sold or leased.
Aircraft to be broken up for spares will be parted out by Austrian Technik Bratislava, which Alliance this year contracted to perform heavy maintenance on its own Fokker fleet after announcing the closure of its Brisbane heavy maintenance facility.
Alliance currently operates 15 Fokker 100s, eight Fokker 70s and five Fokker 50s, and says it plans to continue operating the types in Australia for the next eight to 10 years. All three types have been out of production since Fokker’s bankruptcy in 1997.
“For Austrian Airlines, selling the entire fleet to one of their existing customers and the world’s largest operator of Fokker aircraft in one transaction was a clean and attractive proposition,” McMillan said.
In August Alliance said its focus for the current financial year was on securing more non-mining work and reducing costs amid a “sustained downturn in the resources industry” after posting a full year $36.6 million statutory net loss in 2014/15 due to fleet writedowns and other one-off charges.
The full year result was impacted by a first half charge taken on the carrying value of the fleet, as well as restructuring costs for sending its Fokker fleet to Bratislava for heavy maintenance, one-off costs from the sale of two Fokker 100s and staff redundancies.