Coronavirus (COVID-19): For the latest updates and information on travelling with us click here.

85% Controlling Stake in Airnorth acquired by Bristow Helicopters Australia Pty Ltd

Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS), a leading provider of helicopter services to the worldwide offshore energy industry, announced today that its affiliate, Bristow Helicopters Australia Pty Ltd., acquired an 85-percent interest in Airnorth, [Inc., Ltd. and subsidiaries], a regional fixed-wing airline based in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

“This investment strengthens our position in Australia as it allows us to offer integrated fixed- and rotary- wing logistics solutions, a combined offering that has proven valuable to our customers around the world,” said Jonathan E. Baliff, president and chief executive officer of Bristow Group Inc. “We also gain access to key southeast Asian markets where we do not currently operate. We view Airnorth as an exceptional operator, and are culturally and operationally aligned with shared core values of safety, quality and service.”

As the largest independent regional airline in Australia carrying more than 350,000 passengers annually, Airnorth’s fixed-wing operations are based in Darwin and include both scheduled and charter services to over 20 destinations across three countries, including domestic services across the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland and internationally to Timor-Leste and the Philippines. The airline’s fleet consists of thirteen aircraft, nine turboprop and four new technology regional jets and its customer base includes many energy companies to which Bristow already provides helicopter services. Airnorth’s headquarters will remain in Darwin and it will retain its name and brand identity. It will continue to operate under the direction of Michael Bridge, Airnorth Chief Executive Officer who will remain on the Board of Directors. Simone Saunders will also remain on Airnorth’s Board of Directors and Ms Saunders will continue in her current role with a title change to Director of Finance and Commercial. Bristow will have three representatives on the Airnorth Board of Directors.

“Our new partnership with Bristow Australia will see further expansion for the company and its services to charter clients. Airnorth will continue to operate all scheduled passenger services across its current route network without interruption to existing passenger bookings,” said Michael Bridge, Airnorth Chief Executive Officer.

“We are very proud to be Australia’s second oldest airline and this is an exciting time of growth for Airnorth, our staff and customers. All Airnorth staff will be retained in this acquisition and we anticipate a seamless transition into the Bristow Group. Airnorth and Bristow have previously worked closely together in the provision of integrated air services to existing clients and are united in our commitment to safety and superior service to our customers,” said Mr Bridge.

The acquisition of Airnorth enables Bristow Australia to extend its existing operations beyond rotor wing to include fixed wing, enhancing the company’s service to clients as an integrated aviation

point-to-point logistics provider, and strengthening Bristow’s operational position in Australia. The partnership expands Bristow’s existing oil and gas client base for new business in the Southeast Asia market, and wins new client segments, including business and leisure passengers traveling to regional and remote communities and resource industry workers.

Airnorth is the only regionally based Qantas code-share partner in Australia and provides the bulk of flying to many remote oil and gas and regional and remote communities.

“Many of our global clients are requesting transportation between airports and our bases as they seek to refocus on their core business,” said Allan Blake, director of Bristow’s Australia Business Unit. “Recent tenders in Australia have requested fixed-wing services, including arranging travel through Bristow Travel (Australia) and providing fixed-wing transport. The potential exists to reduce the clients’ costs associated with travel, accommodation and passenger logistics, by providing holistic fixed-wing to rotary-wing solutions to our oil and gas clients.”

The acquisition of Airnorth complements Bristow’s growing portfolio of fixed-wing services worldwide. Bristow provides fixed-wing services through its business unit in Nigeria, and through its affiliates Líder Aviação in Brazil and Eastern Airways in the UK. In January 2014, Bristow’s acquired 60 percent of Eastern Airways, successfully integrating rotor and fixed-wing operations, with customer reception and returns meeting or exceeding expectations.


For more information contact:
Tammy Baczynski
Marketing & Communications Manager
Ph: +61 8 8920 4058 | Mob: 0439 234 058 |

Company backgrounds


Established in 1978 and with its hub based in Darwin, Airnorth is now the premier airline based in Northern Australia and carries in excess of 350,000 passengers annually.

Airnorth is a full service carrier accommodating the needs of both business and leisure travellers, operating state-of-art regional jets through its interstate and international network and providing passengers with complimentary catering and a free baggage allowance.

The airline currently operates over 200 scheduled Regular Public Transport (RPT) departures weekly, serving 17 destinations in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland and Timor-Leste including:

Passengers can also earn and redeem Qantas Frequent Flyer points on all Airnorth scheduled services.

Airnorth, through its partnership with Qantas Airways, offer seamless connectivity including through check in and interline baggage facilities, with Qantas code sharing on the majority of Airnorth’s Jet services.

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

Bristow Australia

Bristow began operations in Australia in 1967 and is now the largest provider of helicopter services to the oil and gas industry in Australia. Headquartered in Perth, Bristow Australia supports oil and gas exploration and production in the North West Shelf of Western Australia and Bass Straits in Victoria. The company also provides airport management services on Barrow Island, maintenance and logistics support for the Republic of Singapore Air Force and operates a fully accredited travel agency, Bristow Travel. With a fleet of 29 helicopters and 500 employees, Bristow operates out of six bases in Western Australia, three bases in Victoria, one base in the Northern Territory, one in Queensland and two planned for South Australia.

Bristow Helicopters Australia is an affiliate of Bristow Group Inc., the leading provider of helicopter services to the worldwide offshore energy industry based on the number of aircraft operated and one of two helicopter service providers to the offshore energy industry with global operations. They have a long history in the helicopter services industry through Bristow Helicopters Ltd and Offshore Logistics, Inc., having been founded in 1955 and 1969, respectively. They have major transportation operations in the North Sea, Nigeria and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and in most of the other major offshore energy producing regions of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia and Trinidad.