NT manufacturer to produce Australian-first amphibious aircraft

amphibious

Amphibian Aircraft Holdings Pty Ltd (AAH) in the Northern Territory will become Australia’s first manufacturer and exporter of the Albatross G-111T, an amphibious aircraft which can take off and touch down from land, snow, ice and water. 

“Australia has never had an FAA transport category aircraft manufacturer and nothing of this scale has come to Australia; so, it’s a great opportunity not only for AAH, but for the supply chain that will grow around our business,” AAH chair Khoa Hoang said. 

“Over 90 per cent of our current sales enquiries has come from overseas, so it will bring much needed export dollars for Australia.” 

The Albatross has a long and distinguished history but has not been commercially manufactured since the 1960s. It is a highly-regarded aircraft and evidence through market studies have demonstrated that there is a strong demand for it to fill an identified gap in the global aviation market. 

“The Albatross currently holds a monopoly in its class being the only FAA transport category amphibian aircraft for 28 passengers. More than this, the Albatross has unmatched pedigree with battle proven capabilities in search and rescue, coastal surveillance, narcotics enforcement, medevac, humanitarian assistance, cargo, utility, defence and many more roles,” Hoang said. 

“With the new technologies that Amphibian Aerospace industries will be developing in new variants of the G-111T Albatross, we are confident that a formidable aircraft will be relevant for many decades to come.” 

The NT government is investing $10 million into AAH to build upgraded versions of the Albatross amphibious aircraft in Darwin. This includes an agreement between AAH and global engine manufacturers, Pratt & Whitney Canada. The investment will be made on a matched basis with private equity, through the government’s Local Jobs Fund. 

“AAH has chosen Darwin Airport as their Australian base to manufacture a new version of the Albatross Aircraft, and this decision will put Darwin on the map and provide long term economic benefits and diverse job opportunities,” Airport Development Group (ADG) CEO Tony Edmondstone said. 

“ADG will be working closely with AAH to develop an aircraft production campus within the Darwin Airport business precinct, with a staged construction plan expected to be formulated in 2022.” 

Once established in the NT, AAH will generate extensive value to the NT economy, with the company forecasting annual revenue of over $100 million by the end of the decade. 

This will be an opportunity to build a new industry together with its associated supply chain and create flow-on benefits for jobs, education and the economy in the NT. 

AAH is developing a buy local policy to support local industry that meet the aerospace industry certification and quality requirements on a cost competitive basis. The strategic aim of the business is to develop a fully local workforce, with the advanced manufacturing centre creating and sustaining new jobs which will provide long term, highly skilled career pathways. 

“This is a big deal for the Territory and for Australia – we will be building amphibious aircraft that will be exported to the rest of the world by the end of the decade,” NT chief minister Michael Gunner said. 

“This exciting venture will create hundreds of jobs and upskilling opportunities for Territorians, while also injecting millions into our economy. The Territory is taking off, and this is just the beginning.” 

Around 300 direct jobs will be created within AAH during production. This includes increasing long term and sustainable Aboriginal employment through targeted training and workshops. 

AAH plans to have the modified aircraft CASA certified within 18 months, with production commencing in 2025.