BRISBANE-based Strategic Airlines is living up to its name.
It is pushing ahead with a targeted network expansion after the Australian regulator recently granted it a three-year unrestricted air operators certificate.
The full-service niche carrier had been operating on a restricted 12-month AOC issued when it started operations last year and sees the Civil Aviation Safety Authority as a seal of approval for its safety performance.
"We're really happy about that," head of commercial Damien Vasta said yesterday. "It gives our market a little bit more confidence that they're dealing with a more established Australian carrier that's got a clean bill of health from CASA."
The airline, which has three Airbus A320s and a wide-body A330 registered in Australia, currently flies from Perth to Derby and Denpasar as well as Brisbane-Port Hedland-Denpasar.
The International Air Services Commission gave Strategic 1514 seats -- the biggest share of the 4000 seats available to the three airlines -- on the grounds it would help promote competition.
Mr Vasta said Strategic had enjoyed a strong response to the its existing services and said passenger traffic to Bali had risen from 400,000 people a year two years to more than a million.
"It's not just Perth, the east coast has gone crazy for Bali again -- they seem to have fallen in love with it," he said. "We just thought that while the sun's shining we'll make hay and we'll put the A330 on some of those east coast direct services. And if we get the capacity to do it we'll be able to offer Melbourne and potentially Brisbane direct."
The new carrier is now looking at potentially acquiring a second A330 and has applied for capacity to Thailand with idea of filling the void left by V Australia when the Virgin Blue long-haul carrier redeploys its Boeing 777 aircraft.
Other potential destinations include Ho Chi Minh City and Honolulu.
Strategic also runs a charter operation using three A320s in Europe and has just successfully transferred its base from France to Luxembourg