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Charter operator Rossair goes into administration

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 4, 2018

A file image of a Rossair Conquest.
A file image of a Rossair Conquest.

Adelaide-based charter operator Rossair has entered into voluntary administration some 13 months after a crash involving one of its aircraft killed its chief pilot and two others on board.

The company, which has been in operation for more than 50 years, said in a statement on Wednesday the decision to appoint administrators was made after the businesses had been faced with several significant, external challenges.

“After more than 12 months faced with extreme adversities stemming from the tragic Rossair airline accident in the South Australian Riverland, the businesses of AE Charter Pty Ltd (including Rossair Charter Pty Ltd) have appointed Voluntary Administrators,” the statement said.

Ernst and Young partner Henry Kazar and director Lachlan Abbott have been appointed joint administrators of the company, a Rossair spokesperson said.

On May 30 2017, a Rossair Cessna 441 Conquest II VH-XMJ crashed near Renmark, South Australia while conducting a training flight from Adelaide to South Australia’s Riverland region and return.


The company’s chief pilot Martin Scott, experienced pilot Paul Daw who was undergoing a check flight and a representative from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Stephen Guerin were on board. There were no survivors.

Following the accident, Rossair grounded its fleet of Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias, Beechcraft 1900s and Cessna 441 Conquests in what it described at the time as a “prudent and precautionary measure”.

A file image of a Rossair Embraer Brasilia 30-seater.
A file image of a Rossair Embraer Brasilia 30-seater.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) preliminary report published on June 30 2017 said its on-site examination of the wreckage and surrounding ground markings indicated that the aircraft impacted terrain in a very steep, almost vertical, nose‑down attitude, and came to rest facing back towards the departure runway.

The investigation is ongoing, with final report due in the first quarter of calendar 2019.

In September, Rossair teamed up with AusJet Aviation through a joint-venture to resume flying operations in South Australia.

However, Rossair has not been flying its own aircraft since the May 2017 crash.

The Rossair spokesperson said in the statement recent events had “brought high levels of uncertainty and material costs to the group’s operational businesses”.

“These have had, and will continue to have, an adverse impact on the company’s cash flow position,” the spokesperson said.

“During the past 12 months, AE Charter and its stakeholders have done everything possible to provide for a sustainable future for the group but an inability to recommence operations has meant these efforts have not come to fruition at this point in time.”

The spokesperson said “limited, non-flying activities” would continue to be conducted at its Adelaide office as company directors and administrators worked to “put the business on a sustainable footing for the future”.

“The AE Charter Board and management team will assist the administrators where possible to investigate and pursue strategies to retain the value for all stakeholders,” the spokesperson said.

South Australian government to meet Rossair administrators

South Australia Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone told the ABC the State Government would meet with the administrators to discuss ways to maintain important air links to regional areas.

“It’s not there for the State Government to step in on a commercial airline, a commercial business,” he told ABC Online.

“What the State Government will do is sit down with the administrators and look at ways that we can provide an air service to regional South Australia.

“It’s a valuable air service to South Australia that is needed . . . particularly regional South Australia, being so far from mainstream Adelaide.”

Rossair, which has been around since 1963, is the second regional operator to enter voluntary administration in recent times.

In early June, Jetgo ended all regular public transport (RPT) flights and appointed McLeod and Partners’ Jonathan Paul McLeod and Bill Karageozis as joint administrators.

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Comments (8)

  • Lucas


    Very sad news… another regional airline in administration. Looks like the aviation downturn might just be starting to poke its ugly head.

  • Trash Hauler


    Very sad indeed. While jet domestic and international RPT is booming another small operator will no doubt disappear unnoticed by those in Parliament

  • James


    @ Trash Hauler

    It’s not parliaments fault.

  • Ben


    Very sad end for this company and its employees. I guess they couldn’t recruit another CP or maybe CASA had suspended their AOC. It’s another opportunity though to remember the three pilots killed. Paul Daw taught me to fly back in 1999 at the Australian Aviation College in Adelaide so this story is hard for me to read.

    • Chris Calder


      Hi Ben I didn’t know Paul that well but the conversations we had were always enjoyable he had great knowledge of the aviation industry in South Australia. My brother flew with him at Kendell’s

  • Josh


    Poor Rossair. They didn’t deserve this fate.

  • John


    Trash Hauler

    jet domestic & international RPT is not booming. Most airlines are struggling to fill seats at a profit. You’ve only got to look at the number of frequent flyer seats that are now available in Xmas & other school holidays(when usually none) to realise this.

    I was able to get ff seats up north 2 weeks before school holidays. Usually there aren’t any, especially 2 weeks out.

    Think we’re heading into such a huge recession, that the govt is running scared & trying to talk things up. Real estate everywhere is totally stuffed, so building workers will all be applying for dole now or very soon.

  • Chris Calder


    My father Frank Calder and his business partner Graham Treloar were the principals of Rossair from 1969 to the early 90s when they sold the aviation interests to Henry Walker a Darwin based public company. During dads tenure the company grew into an Australian icon, although the employees were from all walks of life we were one big family and Graham and dad treated them exactly like they were.
    Neither of them had time to suffer fools and didn’t have much time for government interference in not only the aviation industry but business in general.
    They were pioneers of business in South Australia both are no longer with us but their legacy lives on not only through their children buy also the Rossair family, a tragic day for all involved.
    Chris Calder

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