The new company provides government agencies, commercial entities, as well as private organizations and operators throughout Australasia and Southeast Asia with specialized turn-key solutions. StarFlight Australia Photo
Two aviation organizations have joined forces to officially launch Australia’s latest aviation company, StarFlight Australia, which features access to factory new, fully equipped and compliant Russian Kamov Ka-32A11BC helicopters for firefighting, and the AgustaWestland (Finmecannica Helicopters) range of helicopters for emergency medical service and search-and-rescue (SAR) missions in Australasia.
The joint venture company was established in partnership by CareFlight Group, the Queensland-owned and operated aero-medical care provider, and Kaan Air, one of Europe’s leading helicopter utility operators and original equipment manufacturer helicopter distributor for AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters.
StarFlight chairman, Ferda Yildiz, was in Australia this week to launch the joint venture with StarFlight deputy chairman, Hon Rob Borbidge.
“I am excited to be here in Brisbane to officially launch StarFlight Australia,” said Yildiz. Our company is new but the two organizations of Kaan Air and CareFlight Group bring more than 50 years of combined industry experience to the table.
“We can offer Australian, New Zealand and Asia Pacific organizations new solutions for their rotary-wing requirements.”
The new company provides government agencies, commercial entities, as well as private organizations and operators throughout Australasia and Southeast Asia with specialized turn-key solutions for a diverse range of aviation services requiring a rotary wing platform, including emergency response, surveillance, aerial firefighting, utility and logistical transport services.
StarFlight also extends to the European HeliStar brand, which is a joint venture between Kaan Air and its partner Air Methods, the largest helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS), tourist helicopter operator and flight training company in the United States.
StarFlight Australia’s chief executive officer, John Skeen, said the company’s approach was to partner with current operators rather than compete, with a view to increasing capability of national and state fire authorities and to join with our partners to offer and provide the latest helicopter technology.
“This can be achieved through assisting with improving service as well as access to new and more capable equipment,” said Skeen.
“For example, StarFlight can access the latest EASA [European Aviation Safety Agency] and CASA [Civil Aviation Safety Authority] approved Kamov Ka-32A11BC helicopter, fully equipped and compliant for firefighting in Australia and Southeast Asia regions.
“Australia’s climate has been trending toward more bushfire weather for decades and the threat to property, vegetation, livestock and human lives has increased.
“There’s a lot of pressure on governments and service providers to increase firefighting resources throughout the country, particularly in terms of rotary wing attack,” he said.
Skeen said the new model Kamov Ka-32A11BC model was recognized for being tough, compact and featuring a number of unique flight features due to the co-axial counter-rotating rotor design.
“The Kamov Ka-32A is widely acknowledged as the most capable and efficient firebombing helicopter in operation, with 20 percent improved efficiency against other helicopter types,” he said. “Recent experience in Spain demonstrated the effectiveness of the Bambi Bucket operations to fight fires and the Kamov Ka-32A11BC functioned well in ambient temperatures up to 45-degrees Celsius.”
In addition to a diverse fleet of helicopters and decades of operational experience, StarFlight also provides nationally-recognized training services through joint partner Careflight Group’s Training Academy.
“Not only can we provide turn-key academy base or operator base training for any HEMS and SAR program, but the introduction next year of a full flight Level D [AgustaWestland] AW139 flight simulator will increase training capability substantially,” Skeen said.