Airnorth history

In what is a poignant milestone in Australia’s aviation and business history, Airnorth celebrates 40 years in aviation on July 4th 2018. This not only cements the airline’s position as Australia’s second longest operating airline behind Qantas, but also its position as a proud Territory business since its inception in 1978.

Airnorth first burst onto the aviation scene flying Cessna charter flights throughout the Territory, with regular passenger travel eventuating in the following years.  From 1980 through to the late 1990’s, Airnorth continued to firmly establish itself as a significant operator across Northern Australia, servicing remote communities and operating through harsh conditions across the Top End. Airnorth introduced 19-seat Fairchild Metroliners and 30-seat Embraer Brasilia turboprop aircraft to the fleet.

In 2007, jet services commenced on the 76-seat Embraer E170 aircraft, with services to remote areas such as McArthur River. Jet services subsequently expanded to regional centre destinations, and on international routes including Dili, Timor-Leste.

General Manager, Commercial Luke Fisher highlights that “The introduction of that jet into our fleet transformed our business. Every market it operates in has grown. We now have five E170 jets across our network.”

Today, Airnorth operate the world’s most sophisticated regional jet aircraft into some of the world’s most challenging environments.”

Airnorth’s vital contribution to the local economy, through job creation and increased prosperity was recognised in 2012, when it was awarded the 2012 Large Services Award at the NT Chief Minister’s Export and Industry Awards. The airline’s contributions to the NT economy is significant, with more than $50 million dollars invested in employment of Territory-based staff and the use of local suppliers.

Today, Airnorth is owned by the world’s largest helicopter operator, the Bristow Group. Employing almost 300 staff across administration and operational capacities, the airline remains true to its Territory roots and remains headquartered in Darwin. The airline services 21destinations across two countries, with over 220 scheduled weekly departures as well as chartered flights.

Airnorth prides itself on being a full service carrier, accommodating the needs of both business and leisure travellers, operating state-of-art regional jets across their network, safely delivering more than 330,000 passengers annually.

In addition to scheduled departures, Airnorth operates contract and ad-hoc charter services for a wide variety of companies undertaking mining, defence and government activity.

In recent years Airnorth has experienced significant growth, capitalising on its knowledge of its markets and strong presence in remote and international operations. 

Airnorth’s revenue diversity from jet/turbo-prop/contract and regular public transport operations allows for 24 hours interchange and flexible fleet utilisation, supported by well established and robust financial systems and controls.

Airnorth shares a corporate alliance with Qantas Airways which includes the hosting of all flights in the Amadeus global distribution system, inclusion in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, electronic ticketing and baggage checks as well as joint marketing activities.

The airline also seeks to deliver support to communities by sponsoring a variety of charities, events and deserving causes. Airnorth this year has been proud to continue annual support for the Gove Ladies Fishing Classic, the 2019 Airnorth Cable Beach Polo in Broome, Tour de Timor – an extreme 474km cyclist race held across 4 days in Timor-Leste and this Christmas, will celebrate 20 years carrying out the infamous ‘Santa Run’, which seeks to spread cheer in remote Indigenous communities.

Not only does 2018 mark Airnorth’s 40th anniversary, but it also brings with it the launch of a new inflight magazine; Together We Fly, a new uniform launch and adopting new technologies to support our customers with booking and managing their flights.

For more information, or to book, head to, call 1800 627 474 or contact your local travel agent.

The overriding goal of the group is to achieve sustainable profits and consistent growth through improving operational performance without compromising safety.

The Capiteq Group holds an Air Operators Certificate [AOC No BN518845-49] issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority [CASA] and maintains operational standards of safety compliance equivalent to major airlines.

The Group also has a commitment to ensure maintenance performed on aircraft and aircraft components under Certificate of Approval [COA 4068] issued by CASA, meets the highest standards of airworthiness, quality, reliability and safety.

Safety Management maintains a pro-active approach to safety in all company departments through the Safety Advisory Group.

Aircraft Logistics is the engineering division of the Capiteq Group.  Based at Darwin International Airport, Aircraft Logistics occupies the largest hangar on the airfield and employs over 40 full-time and contract staff. This purpose-built hangar is 3,700 square metres and is capable of accommodating most of Airnorth fleet simultaneously.

In addition to Airnorth activity in Darwin, Aircraft Logistics provides ongoing assistance and logistical support to other operators within the region.

Airnorth is an unlisted public company, independently audited since 1993.

Bristow Helicopters Australia Pty Ltd is the sole shareholder of Airnorth.

Directors include Daniel Bowden (Chief Executive Officer), Alan Corbett (Director) and Dawn James (Company Secretary).

Corporate governance includes scheduled board meetings, strategic planning and risk management [bi-annual], workshops, formalised budgeting and numerous financial controls overseen by the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee.

Risk management systems and procedures (including safety management, occupational health and safety, security, government and international relations, document control and internal auditing) are overseen by the Compliance Department.

Key managers have major airline and/or related industry experience.