The Chairperson of the Laynhapuy Aviation Aboriginal Corporation, Mr Barayuwa Mununggurr, announced today that Laynha Air, based at the Gove Airport, has ceased operations, after 31 years of continuous sterling service to the Yolngu People of northeast Arnhem Land.
The announcement coincides with the signing of a Service Level Agreement between Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation and Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) for the provision of the Corporation’s future air transport requirements in support of the Laynhapuy homelands.
Mr Mununggurr said the decision to cease the operation of Laynha Air was made by the Laynhapuy Aviation Aboriginal Corporation Board, following careful consideration of options for continuing the service.
The decision reflects an understanding of the changes to the circumstances that lead to the establishment of Laynha Air in 1986.
Mr Mununggurr said, ‘Laynha Air celebrates the strong support provided by MAF over many years and the Board of Laynhapuy Homelands is delighted that, through the Service Level Agreement signed with MAF today, the Laynhapuy relationship with MAF will continue well into the future’.
On behalf of the Laynhapuy Aviation and Laynhapuy Homelands Boards, and the staff of Laynha Air Mr Mununggurr thanked Laynha Air’s numerous loyal customers of over its 31 years of operation.
The phone number for booking flights to Laynhapuy homelands with MAF is 08 8987 2777.
Owned by the Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation, and managed by the late Adrian Wagg, Laynha Air commenced operation from Yirrkala in 1986, with a single helicopter.
The purchase of two fixed wing aircraft in 1990 necessitated Laynha Air moving to a newly constructed hanger and office at the Gove Airport.
Shortly before the tragic death of Adrian Wagg in 2002, discussions had commenced with MAF that lead in 2003 to a formal agreement that saw the engagement of MAF pilots for the Laynha Air aircraft and MAF providing Laynha Air’s engineering service requirements.
The agreement also provided Laynha Air with its Chief Pilot and Operating Manuals requirements.
In recent years the relationship extended to Laynha Air leasing several aircraft from MAF.
At the time Laynha Air ceased operating helicopters in 2004 the fixed wing fleet had grown to six.
Throughout its 31-year history Laynha Air provided people and freight transport services to Homeland residents, for their general transport needs and for access to medical services, including for medical staff flying in and patients flying out (to specialist appointments and for emergency evacuations).
Laynha Air also operated as a general charter operator, transported Yirralka Ranger and building maintenance staff, participated in search and rescue operations, supported education through transporting teachers and students, and returned deceased persons to their Country.
Current Laynha Air General Manager, Dan Wagg, son of the late Adrian Wagg, joined Laynha Air as an apprentice aircraft engineer in 1991. Dan notes that Laynha Air has transported over 16,000 people annually for the past 25 years, including many of the Yolngu teams competing in Barunga’s annual sports festivals, and recalls the use of the Laynha Air aircraft for filming Yothu Yindi film clips and for the filming of the Yolngu Boy movie.
Dan recollects the most unusual task of Laynha Air was in the 1990s, utilising the whole of the aircraft fleet to fly Kentucky Fried Chicken into Nhulunbuy from Darwin for the annual Nhulunbuy Unions Picnic Day.
Another notable flight was transporting a number of Nhulunbuy residents to the annual Birdsville Races, requiring three refuelling stops there and back.
For further media information contact: Chris Francis Chief Executive Officer Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation 0417 481 610