Charter airline reassures Olympic after Air Australia collapse

Charter airline reassures Olympic after Air Australia collapse

Strategic Airlines, a charter carrier contracted to fly more than 120,000 UK holidaymakers from Gatwick and Manchester this summer, is 49% owned by a company now in administration in Australia.

However, Luxembourg-registered Strategic Airlines SA confirmed it is separately controlled by its European management team and investors and unaffected by the failure of Air Australia on February 17.

Strategic Airlines commercial director Neil Huston told Travel Weekly: “The failure in Australia will not impact our continued operations. All our funding is generated by our own flying programme.”

The carrier is contracted to fly on behalf of Olympic Holidays and other tour operators after entering the UK market a year ago.

It was set up by Brisbane-based Strategic Airlines Pty, which changed its name to Air Australia and launched a scheduled budget airline of the same name last November.

Strategic Airlines issued a statement reassuring tour operators it would maintain a “strong flying programme this summer” and Olympic Holidays spent Thursday reassuring clients and trade partners about the carrier, which will provide a “significant” amount of its flying.

In its statement, the carrier said: “Luxembourg-based Strategic Airlines SA reassures customers that it is unaffected by the recent failure of Air Australia.

“Strategic Airlines SA is an independent company and last year, following the re-branding in Australia, this separation was increased. The majority shareholding of Strategic Airlines SA is and always has been in the hands of European-based entities and the failure in Australia will not impact Strategic Airlines SA or its future plans.

“We have carried in excess of 2,300 passengers for six different customers since last Friday’s announcement and have a strong flying programme for this summer.”

Strategic operated three Airbus A320s from the UK last year, carrying 198,000 passengers on behalf of UK tour operators, It plans to add a fourth A320 for this summer when it will again fly for Olympic Holidays.

Huston confirmed that the carrier was first established in Europe as Strategic Airlines SAS France in 2009 with Strategic Airlines of Australia as parent company. The French carrier ceased operating in September 2010.

He said: “Strategic Airlines SA Luxembourg was set up as an independent company in [October] 2010 by the European management team and granted the Strategic group a minority shareholding.

“The shareholding previously held by the Strategic group in Australia is now held by their administrator.”

Olympic Holidays customer services and legal director David Wilson said: “Strategic provided a very good service to us [last year]. They are investing and improving and we will be expanding our business with them on the strength of the first year. They have been relaxed about what has happened.”

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