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Alliance extends contracts with big miners

written by Jake Nelson | May 13, 2024

Rob Finlayson shot this Alliance Fokker 100, VH-FWH, which is now operated by Virgin.

FIFO and charter operator Alliance Airlines has renewed contracts with two major mining companies this month.

Coal miner Glencore and gold miner Newmont have signed on for contract extensions of three and five years respectively for Alliance’s FIFO operations, which serve Glencore’s mine at Emerald, Queensland, and Newmont’s mine at Tanami in the Northern Territory.

“We are very proud of the long-standing partnership with Glencore and remain committed to upholding the highest standards of service excellence,” said Alliance managing director Scott McMillan.

“We are excited to continue our relationship with Newmont, a customer we have serviced since 2011. Newmont is the largest gold miner in the world and the operations we are servicing are some of the most remote.”

The Newmont contract is Alliance’s single largest FIFO operation in terms of hours flown, serviced by flights from Perth, Darwin, Alice Springs, and Brisbane. Alliance operates 24 sectors per week to Tanami, over a route network of 5,758km.

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“Alliance is the leading FIFO operator in Australia, providing an essential service to major resource players like Newmont, providing the safe and on-time transportation required in any efficient mining operation,” said McMillan.

The Glencore contract operates from Sunshine Coast Airport to Emerald, and has been running for nine years. In a statement to the ASX, Alliance said it is “the only FIFO provider of any substantial scale to do so”.

“Alliance’s fleet of jet aircraft meets the discerning requirements of Glencore, highlighting the need for efficiency, reliability, and comfort in air travel,” the airline said.

“Alliance has consistently demonstrated its capacity to respond swiftly and effectively to the needs of Glencore. Alliance’s ability to offer aircraft and assistance when required ensures uninterrupted service delivery, maintaining operational continuity for Glencore.”

Alliance operates Embraer E190 and Fokker 70 and 100 jets, with E190s comprising the largest share of the fleet.

The company last year signed a deal to buy 30 more E190s from Ireland-based lessor AerCap, though delays in the delivery schedule mean it will receive only 12 of these planes in 2024 rather than 17.

McMillan said last month that fleet ownership is “fundamental to the [airline’s] business model”.

“It underpins our operational performance with Alliance having ultimate control of our fleet units, thus providing flexibility, particularly around maintenance,” he said.

“The 2023 Aircraft Acquisition Programme is a significant growth initiative we are currently successfully implementing.

“Securing funding against this initiative highlights our strong financial status, particularly our long dated contracted revenue streams from a predominately investment grade customer base.”

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