Charter company GAM Air and Reefwatch flying high
GAM Air and Reefwatch are continuing their air charter services in Cairns despite the closure of their hangar and maintenance
facility in July.
The Melbourne-based company has consolidated its presence in the Far North and is considering future expansion.
General manager Bruno Lucarelli said two Aero Commander 500 planes remained at Cairns airport and the company continued to operate Weipa airport despite the hangar and maintenance closure.
He said the company had resolved amicably the lease dispute with Cairns airport over its hangar.
Mr Lucarelli said it was not feasible to continue the maintenance operations.
"We closed the Cairns hangar and maintenance facility, relocated some aircraft to Brisbane to take advantage of work there and left a smaller number of aircraft in Cairns," he said.
"GAM/Reefwatch are still capable of chartering aircraft for passenger or freight requirements and able to relocate aircraft where needed."
Director Melissa Nott said they were continuing to operate passenger and freight charter work to Horn Island as well as wet weather freight services.
She said the company had 32 aircraft based in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney which were available for use in Cairns.
Mrs Nott said they continued to run Reef, rainforest and Outback flights when demand was
Mr Lucarelli said the company had sold four fixed-wing aircraft to Heli Charters Australia and had yet to settle on their Weipa Air business sale to the same company.
He said the company continued to operate Weipa airport for mining giant Rio Tinto.
Mr Lucarelli said GAM Air hoped to be involved in the development of Cairns as a fly-in, fly-out mining base.
He said the company operated twice daily flights taking 32 Queensland Gas mining staff from Brisbane to Chinchilla airport which they also managed.
Mr Lucarelli said they had an international licence that enabled them to fly to Papua New Guinea.
The Cairns operation is now based at the General Aviation Aero Centre at 97 Tom McDonald Drive where four staff are based, including Mrs Nott.
GAM was established in 1982 by Mrs Nott’s husband Steve.
The family moved to Cairns about nine years ago and Mr Nott commuted between Melbourne and the Far North. He was killed in a light plane crash in Melbourne in August, 2007.
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Expanding: Melissa Nott (left) and Bruno Lucarelli (right) are continuing to operate GAM Air and Reefwatch in Cairns. Picture: TOM LEE