Preserving History and Digitising the Analogue with Air Kimberley

February 9, 2023

The Kimberley region, located in the remote north-western corner of Australia, boasts an ancient landscape, one of the few remaining wilderness frontiers in the world. Despite its population being less than 40,000, it’s a popular tourist destination, known for its abundance in wildlife, breathtaking landscape and coastlines, and freshwater swimming holes, all spread across hundreds of thousands of square kilometres. To put things into perspective, that’s over three times the size of England!

Travel through the region, and experiencing all its beauty by land - would take days - that’s where the team at Air Kimberley come in. 

Buccaneer Archipelago Precambrian Sandstone Islands

Air Kimberley first took to the Kimberley skies back in 1992 as King Leopold Air, a small charter company based on a pastoral station close to its namesake – the spectacular King Leopold Ranges. With the renaming of the Ranges in 2020 to the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges, the name no longer reflected the values of the business, and so, Air Kimberley was born.

Their operation services the remote areas to increase cultural awareness, promote sustainable tourism, and to share the amazing landscape through knowledge, excellence, and safety.

Diversifying the scenic route

Working with locals, especially Indigenous custodians of the land, was important for Ashley Munn and Jensen Skjellerup, co-founders of Air Kimberley. Throughout their journey, they have reconnected and built long lasting relationships, which in turn, has given them greater admiration and understanding for the region’s heritage, culture and appreciation for the landscape.

Air Kimberley Team

Journey of Discovery

Air Kimberley’s scenic tours generally operate from April through to September, where attractions such as the Horizontal Falls, Cygnet Bay, Mitchell Falls, Bungle Bungles and Windjana Gorge feature during their offerings. 

With the Kimberley region being extremely remote and desolate in its landscape, the team collaborates with local businesses to provide additional access, commentary, and to enhance their overall scenic service and tour experience. They also partner with ground tour operators who offer tours by boat and vehicle, as well as hiking options and walkthroughs.

“Our guests really get that cultural immersion, so it’s not just a scenic flight; they get personalised experiences, and learn about all of the Kimberley’s history and culture.” says Munn.
Air Kimberly aircraft at Cape Leveque

Moving with the times

We’re all well aware of the gap in our industry, whereby a lot of manual processing of flight logs and information has traditionally been done by hand. This process became evident when Air Kimberley (formally King Leopold at the time) was acquired. Munn and Skjellerup knew about technologies that were already in use in the industry, and soon found they didn’t have any real-time visual oversight, to give them the assurance of knowing where their aircraft are, and the safety of their team and passengers aboard flights.

“Having 14 planes in the air, and not knowing where they are or what they're doing, never really sat well with us.”

The fleet at the time didn’t have a mode C transponder installed either, so they weren’t able to track or follow their flights at all. 

This is when they sought the implementation of Spidertracks.

Air Kimberley Aircraft

“One of the things we really wanted to do early was to look at a programme that could tick all those boxes, and really improve on our in-flight management, flight management and safety. So that's when we were looking at Spidertracks, and we had also heard from other operators that it was good!”

Since then, the team has never looked back.

“Anything we need to know, we can just see it there. Being able to play back all the flights has been really good for reviewing incidents. The previous owners were hands on, manuals and spreadsheets - there was nothing. Coming from a digital world and fast changing technology, going back to pieces of paper was a bit of a shock to the system! Spidertracks has been fantastic in helping us manage our operations, rostering flight directories, and our processes just continue to evolve over time.”

Not only have they utilised Spidertracks for flight tracking and following, they also have the ability to communicate with team members directly during flight by using Spidertxt.

“Spidertxt has been an absolute blessing. We’ve had aircraft in the middle of nowhere, passengers not showing up, or there’s been an issue with one of the planes - we can just send a message and tell them - it’s amazing!” 

If you would like to see how you and your team can make the switch to digital, and shift to an automated way of working, get in touch with our friendly team today.

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