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Skytrans now in foreign hands as Avia completes acquisition

written by Jake Nelson | March 4, 2024

Skytrans, based in Cairns, operates regular passenger transport and charter services across regional Queensland. (Image: Skytrans)

Queensland-based regional airline Skytrans has officially joined European aviation giant Avia Solutions Group.

Avia completed its purchase of Skytrans this month, having announced the deal in late January, and has signalled plans to expand the carrier into wet leasing and jet operations. At the time of the announcement, Avia held 11 air operator certificates in different countries.

“Avia Solutions Group is not only a major player in the ACMI market but is also a comprehensive aviation business group that includes MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul), pilot and crew training, ground handling, and other service providers. Supported by 11,700 highly skilled aviation professionals, the group operates worldwide,” said Skytrans CEO Alan Milne in an email to the airline’s business partners.

“We are excited to join forces with this global industry leader and trust that moving forward, Skytrans will have plenty of new business opportunities. Currently, no significant changes for our day-to-day operations are planned. However, it’s important to note that I will continue as the CEO of Skytrans, ensuring stability and continuity in our leadership.

“Additionally, we are welcoming Gytis Gumuliauskas, who will be developing the Group’s airline business stream in Australia, taking a position as the Managing Director of Skytrans.”


Skytrans, based in Cairns, operates regular passenger transport and charter services across regional Queensland with a fleet of 13 De Havilland Dash 8 and Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft.

It was briefly placed into administration in early 2015, before being revived months later after it was bought out by Peter Collings’ West Wing Aviation and former NRL player Johnathan Thurston.

Under Skytrans’ AOC, Avia will be able to operate both passenger and cargo flights in Australia, bolstering its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Avia is looking to buy or establish seven additional airlines by the end of the year, with Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, and Türkiye all on its radar.

Its portfolio includes European carriers SmartLynx Airlines, Avion Express, AirExplore, KlasJet, and Magma Aviation, along with MRO services provider FL Technics and independent pilot training organisation BAA Training.

Jonas Janukenas, CEO of Avia Solutions Group, said in January that the Skytrans acquisition is part of the company’s strategic ambition to expand its footprint in areas with “opposite seasonality” to Europe.

“Australia is a new addition to our group’s global footprint, where we see significant potential and growth opportunities, enabling us to offer ACMI services,” he said.

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