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South Australia's Emu Airways acquired to join new Regional Airline Group

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 1 March 2004

Emu Airways, previously owned by EMU Air Charter, an Adelaide-based airline which operates tourist flights to nearby Kangaroo Island, has been acquired by Darwin-based aviation services company Capiteq Limited, as part of a major new coalition of regional air services in Australia.

The purchase was announced today in Adelaide as part of a broader strategy by Capiteq to unite a group of independent regional airlines under the single brand of RegionalLink Airlines.

The 30-year-old Emu Airways is the major air operator to Kangaroo Island, an increasingly popular destination not only to domestic tourists but to international visitors, who are attracted by wildlife including seals and koalas, and the island's pristine environment.

Emu operates two 19-seat Beech 1900C aircraft on six daily return flights between Adelaide and Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, a journey time of 30 minutes. 

The airline also offers connections to and from arriving and departing domestic and international services in Adelaide.

"The acquisition of Emu Airways is a key part of a broader national strategy to link a series of independent regional carriers through Australia's first airline franchise operation," said Capiteq Chief Executive Mr Michael Bridge.

"RegionalLink Airlines will own the franchise, and will act as a central purchasing group to provide members including Emu Airways with affordable access to functions such as reservations, purchasing, yield management, ground handling and information technology," said Mr Bridge.

"However, all of the participating airlines, including Emu, will continue to trade in their local markets under their own names, the logos of which will be featured on the fuselages of aircraft within the group." 

Initially, the RegionalLink group will include two existing Capiteq subsidiaries, the Darwin-based regional airline Airnorth and the South Australian based Airlines of South Australia.

Mr Bridge said the purchase of Emu Airways was an important strategic step in the formation of a regional airline coalition under the RegionalLink brand.

Discussions are now underway with several other regional carriers about franchise operations.

"Each of the airlines in our group will bring with it strong brand awareness, expert local market knowledge and customer loyalty," said Mr Bridge. 

"In return, we will deliver membership of a strong national brand in RegionalLink, which we plan to expand progressively, and affordable access to a range of key services, which otherwise could not be afforded by each individual regional airline."

While the acquisition of Emu Airways is effective immediately there will be no significant changes to the airline's services.

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