A MANUFACTURING coup for the Northern Territory Government, securing a deal to build Albatross amphibious aircraft in Darwin.

Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison said the project would create up to 300 direct jobs and deliver massive skills upgrades to the Territory’s workforce.

The Territory beat rival governments New South Wales and Queensland to secure the signature of Amphibian Aircraft Holdings Pty Ltd – operating as Amphibian Aerospace Industries – to build an upgraded version of the Albatross amphibious aircraft in Darwin.

The manufacturing plant will be built at Darwin Airport on a large plot of land already earmarked for the project.

When fully established, the company hopes to build up to 12 aircraft a year in Darwin.

“This is fantastic for Darwin,” Minister Manison said. “We are entering into a new era of modern manufacturing and this is putting aviation manufacturing for the nation on display right here in Darwin and this is a really significant day for aviation in this nation.

“We’re going to see the first Albatross coming off the production line here in Darwin by 2025.

“The market demand is there. They need a larger aircraft. It is the diversity of this aircraft that makes it so attractive to so many different nations and so many different industries.”

Airport Development Group spokesman Patrick Bellot said the manufacturing plant would be built in stages beginning in the next 12 months.

“We’ve already got surplus land and the parcel’s already been identified for the project and we’re looking at a potentially stage development rollout from the initial hangar facility to a full campus.

Designed principally for search and rescue, The Albatross is a versatile aircraft – regarded as a workhorse in the aviation world – that brings with it toughness and flexibility.

Minister Manison said as well as regular landings, the Albatross can land on sea ice, can serve a defence, surveillance and search and rescue function as well as tourism and workplace.

Launched at Pearl Aviation’s airport base, Albatross are used to fly workers to remote pearl farms.

Amphibian Aerospace Industries chief executive Dan Webster said a number of factors tipped the scale to Darwin including the NT Government’s active pursuit, special migration zones for employment, a nearby second airport at Batchelor for testing and training and proximity to Asia.

“This is not just a project, we’re establishing an aviation manufacturing industry,” Mr Webster said. “Darwin is the Gateway to Asia and perfect to access the customer base.”

Source NT News: Camden Smith

Watch 9 News for more

Darwin Albatross amphibious aircraft

Amphibian Aerospace Industries

Amphibian Aerospace Industries is a Victorian company who plan to manufacture and produce a modified amphibian aircraft from the Albatross family in Darwin. The company competed in Darwin Innovation Hub’s annual flagship event, Croc Pitch, in October 2021 and won first place. They will use their $1 million investment from the Paspalis Innovation Investment Fund (PIIF) to fund the modification program to the aircraft. The company will upgrade the existing piston engine version of the Albatross with new PT6A-67F Pratt & Whitney turbo prop engines.

Croc Pitch 2021 was a great experience. Not only did we come away as the winners, but we were introduced to a number of other start-ups which we hope to collaborate with in the future. Winning $1M from the Paspalis Innovation Investment fund will enable us to open our office in Darwin and make a start. Consequently, Croc Pitch 2021 represents a pivotal moment in the life of Amphibian Aerospace Industries.” – Dan Webster, CEO of AAI

Read more about AAI and other Croc Pitch winners here.