Air Transport World

Changing names, directions. (Australian regional airlines)

Sydney-Ansett New South Wales, a division of the Ansett Group, has changed its name again, this time, to Ansett Express. But this change is part of the Australian regional carrier's ambitious reorganization plan, which includes new aircraft, new livery and further expansion beyond the borders of New South Wales with nonstop flights that bypass congested hubs, such as Sydney. The new-name, new-direction carrier now is geared to the business and discretionary travelers who want to get to their destinations in a hurry.

Ansett Express General Manager Jon Hutchison says that domestic travelers should take the new name literally. As defined in the Oxford dictionary, "Express means fast, with few stoppages. That appropriately defines how we intend to operate in the 1990s," Hutchison reveals.

While deregulation was the flint that ignited the airline's reorganization plan, Ansett Express has been positioning itself quietly for months to expand beyond the New South Wales borders.

"We've known, for instance, that there is a scarcity of nonstop operations and that this void was a way to separate us from our competitors," said Hutchison. "We plan to introduce a range of nonstop services over long distances that will eliminate the inconvenience of stopping en route at a congested hub such as Sydney."

Improved service to cities such as Canberra, Rockhampton and Mackay is part of the initial expansion phase. The airline also will increase the number of nonstop flights. Service from Brisbane, Canberra and Launceston in Tasmania will follow, also bypassing Sydney.

In addition, Ansett Express will complement and expand the range of flights served by the Ansett Group as a whole. This move will give travelers choices and frequency never given before, perhaps the best element of deregulation, according to Hutchison.

Being part of the Ansett Group will allow the airline to take advantage of the economies of scale, thereby saving travel time and money for the customer. "Using the advantages of aircraft size, we will be able to cut up to 50% off the previous time for some journeys" and realize an operational cost saving, explains Hutchison.

The Ansett Group is made up of Ansett, Express, Ansett Western Australia, Ansett Northern Territory, Eastwest, Kendell and Aeropelican.

Hutchison says that by the end of the year, the airline will serve every eastern state in Australia with Fokker F28s on longer routes and Fokker 50s on shorter and medium-haul trips. Currently, the airline provides service to 16 major destinations in New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territories (Canberra), Victoria, Tasmania and Norfolk island. Hutchison expects the carrier to double its traffic to 1 million passengers a year within two years. To assist in its expansion, Ansett Express has acquired six Fokker F28-4000s from leisure carrier Eastwest Airlines (ATW, 3/91).

As for its string of names, Ansett Express operated as Butler Air Transport when it started up in the late 1950s. …

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