Queensland's MacAir enlists customer help in Choosing New Aircraft

Travel News Asia Wednesday, 12 July 2006

MacAir, a Queensland-based regional airline, is enlisting the assistance of key customers to help choose its next aircraft type.

When the airline assessed a new European ATR42 aircraft in Townsville on Monday, it first conducted a briefing for a group of its most frequent fliers before hosting a demonstration flight to gauge their opinions and it will continue to consult with them until a fleet decision is made later this year.

MacAir operates a mix of scheduled public transport flights and contract services for resources companies throughout regional Queensland, currently using a combination of 19-seat Metroliner and 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft.

We are now entering an exciting new phase in our development, with strong growth on existing routes, and several potential new routes, said MacAir Chief Executive Mr Randal McFarlane.

We will soon introduce our fifth 34-seat Saab 340B, we are considering a sixth, and we have started evaluating larger turboprop aircraft to meet projected growth, particularly on fly in fly out operations to remote resources sites, said Mr McFarlane.

We want our customers to be part of the solution as we develop our airline to meet future requirements, and Mondays demonstration flight with the ATR42 was an important part of the consultation process.

The ATR-42 which visited Townsville was a brand new aircraft on a delivery flight to Noumea, where it is joining Air Caledonie.

MacAir used the opportunity to assess the ATR, which is offered in two versions the ATR-42, seating up to 50 passengers and the larger ATR-72, which can carry up to 68 passengers.

Seating is in a comfortable 2 x 2 configuration, ensuring that every passenger has a window or aisle, and each seat is the same width as those on a Boeing 737.

Our fleet review has two aims, said Mr McFarlane. The first is to increase the number of seats we are able to offer on existing routes which are growing, or potential new routes. 

The second is to continually develop the standard of service we deliver to our customers, most of whom are business travellers, and fly regularly.

Our future depends upon their satisfaction.

A decision on a new aircraft type, and the acquisition of a sixth Saab, is expected later this year. As will decisions on the number of new aircraft required, and the development of both existing and new routes.

MacAir Airlines is a Qantas Frequent Flyer partner, operating a fleet of modern propjets to 38 destinations throughout regional Queensland, in addition to providing fly in-fly out services for many mining partners.

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