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Cobham wins contract extension from Qantas Freight

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 20, 2019
A file image of a Cobham BAE 146-300QT at Hobart Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of a Cobham BAE 146-300QT at Hobart Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Cobham Aviation Services has secured a contract extension to operate freighter services on behalf of Qantas until 2026.

The company said in a statement on Friday the new contract would begin on July 1 2020 and end on June 30 2026. There was also the option of a one-year extension.

Cobham Aviation Services has operated freighter services on behalf of Qantas for more than 25 years.

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Currently, it has four BAe146-300QT freighters carrying cargo around Australia for Qantas Freight. Three aircraft were part of Qantas Freight’s dedicated sub-fleet for domestic mail, parcels and Express Post for Australia Post and its subsidiary StarTrack.

A 2017 file image of a Cobham BAE 146-300QT. (Rob Finlayson)
A 2017 file image of a Cobham BAE 146-300QT. (Rob Finlayson)

Cobham Aviation Services chief executive Ryan Both said the company was immensely proud of its long relationship with Qantas, which also includes flying Boeing 717 passenger services for the airline group’s regional wing QantasLink.

Further, Both said the company – the largest airline group in the country after Qantas and Virgin Australia – had worked hard to ensure there had been “a continuous improvement in the freight division’s operating performance while at the same time maintaining the highest possible safety standards”.

“The latest deal is a significant achievement and is testament to the efforts of the hundreds of people involved in delivering a critically important, high performance service on a daily basis,” Both said in a statement.

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“We are also the only the only third party passenger transport operator trusted to operate under the Qantas brand, providing the national carrier with a fleet of 20 717 aircraft along with pilots, cabin crew and maintenance support as part of a separate long term contract.”

A file image of a Cobham BAE 146-300QT operating for Qantas Freight. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of a Cobham BAE 146-300QT operating for Qantas Freight. (Rob Finlayson)

In addition to its freight and passenger flights for Qantas, Cobham Aviation Services has charter and fly-in/fly-out operations serving Australia’s resources sector, does aerial border surveillance and search-and-rescue operations, as well as contract flying on behalf of other carriers.

It is part of United Kingdom-based Cobham plc.

In July, Cobham plc announced it had received a takeover offer from global private equity company Advent International and flagged a “strategic review” of its Australian operations.

This would enable the company to decide “how best to optimise the value” of the Australian arm, Cobham Plc chief executive David Lockwood said at the time.

Both said in August the strategic review was “well advanced”, with an announcement expected by the end of calendar 2019.

“There has been a lot of interest and potential buyers of the business,” Both told reporters at the official unveiling of the company’s first De Havilland Q400 turboprop.

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