Aviation

Australia’s newest airline takes off

A new Aussie airline took flight on Tuesday from Sydney’s Rose to Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin for the first time to demonstrate its unique offering.

Operated by Sydney Seaplanes, Alt Air plans to launch scheduled flights to more than 10 regional NSW destinations from the second half of 2021, beginning with flights from Sydney Harbour to Palm Beach, Newcastle and Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin.

Using a seaplane, Alt Air has managed to reduce overall journey times for most travellers due to convenient take-off and landing locations combined with onboarding and disembarkation timeframes of approximately 10 minutes each.

Alt Air will shave off up to four hours travel time for a typical business or government traveller on a return trip to Canberra, with three scheduled return flights planned on weekdays and two on weekends.

Locations including Port Stephens, Gosford, the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie, Wollongong, Jervis Bay, Batemans Bay, Narooma, Lake Jindabyne, and the Central West are expected to join the schedule gradually from 2022.

“In places like Vancouver or Seattle, seaplanes are a central component of the transport system – not just for tourism,” Alt Air and Sydney Seaplanes CEO Aaron Shaw said.

“In New South Wales, we are blessed with an extraordinarily wide range of inland waterways, harbours and lakes, all perfect for seaplanes, and because our modern fleet is amphibious, we can also fly to any number of inland destinations west of the Blue Mountains.”

The Alt Air name was chosen to represent the new airline’s ‘alternative’ approach, which aims to define a new way of travel that is green, quiet, fast, convenient, and affordable.

Alt Air operator Sydney Seaplanes recently agreed on a world-first partnership with electric aircraft engine maker magniX, and is currently seeking regulatory approval to become Australia’s (and potentially the world’s) first fully electric, nil-emissions commercial airline.

The airline expects to expand its five plane fleet to around 10 planes by the first half of 2022 to accommodate increased passengers across the newly scheduled services.

“Alt Air offers the best of all worlds. Our pricing will compete strongly with conventional aviation, but we’ll radically reduce journey times and the hassles of a conventional flying experience,” Shaw said.

“As we add more fully electric planes to our fleet once regulatory approvals are complete, passengers will also enjoy an incomparably green and quiet commercial aviation experience.

“Our routes will take in some of New South Wales’ most popular sea-change and tree-change locations, making it quicker and easier for decentralised workers to stay connected to the city.”

The new Alt Air fleet will comprise 15 seat Twin Otters and 12 seat Cessna Caravans.

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