Hotelier takes flight

SYDNEY billionaire hotelier Jerry Schwartz has taken a stake in Sydney Seaplanes, including the recently completed Empire Lounge at Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour. Said to be the result of a school-gate conversation with Sydney Aviation Holdings shareholders Aaron Shaw and Ken Gaunt, the deal will also see the addition of two amphibious aircraft owned by Schwartz added to the fleet.

Sydney Seaplanes had been impacted by the 31 December 2017 crash of one of its aircraft into the Hawkesbury River. Shaw and Gaunt said the fatal incident had been a drain on cash-flow, but added the business would have survived without the addition of a third shareholder. “Jerry’s investment, both financial and also with the fleet growth, they really help us speed up that recovery significantly,” Shaw told News Limited.

Schwartz, who owns 11 hotels in Sydney and the Hunter Valley, said there was considerable demand for point-to-point air services between Sydney and the Hunter, and the now six-strong Sydney Seaplanes fleet would enable the transport of larger groups with greater flexibility. “Sydney Aviation Holdings brings substantial expertise to the partnership, and their terminal at Rose Bay is one of the most prestigious pieces of commercial real estate on Sydney Harbour,” he said.