Sydney Seaplanes
Sydney Seaplanes Logo.png
Founded2 August 2006
HubsRose Bay Water Airport
Fleet size5
HeadquartersRose Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Key peopleAaron Shaw (Founder and Managing Director)

Sydney Seaplanes is a domestic and charter carrier in and around Sydney and is the largest seaplane operator in Australia, operating hundreds of flights a week during the peak tourist season. Founded in August 2006 with one aircraft, Sydney Seaplanes has grown in direct response to the growing incoming Asian tourist markets and the leisure VIP market.


Sydney Seaplanes DHC-2 Beaver, VH-AAM at takeoff
Sydney Seaplanes DHC-2 Beaver, VH-AAM at takeoff

The airline was formed in August 2006 through the merger of Sydney Harbour Seaplanes, Seaplane Safaris, Southern Cross Seaplanes and two other operators. The founder and managing director is Aaron Shaw.[1] In late 2016, a new era of growth for the airline was ushered in with the new harbourside terminal being opened, with the 'Empire Lounge' restaurant/bar inside.[2][3][4] In 2017, Sydney Seaplanes partnered with Dr Jerry Schwartz of Schwartz Family Co. to expand the airlines fleet, placing two additional amphibious Cessna Caravan aircraft online.[5]

In 2016, the new Rose Bay terminal was opened, 'Empire Lounge' as it is affectionately known as is Australia's first purpose built seaplane terminal. With uninterrupted water views and an outdoor decking area it is the ushering in of a new era of growth for the airline.[2][3][4]

It has flown celebrities around when in Sydney, including Ed Sheeran,[6] Top Gear and The Grand Tour presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May,[7] Cuba Gooding Jr,[8] Sam Smith[8] and Pippa Middleton[9][10]


The five aircraft fleet of Sydney Seaplanes includes the following aircraft (at August 2019):[11][12]

*Refer below to the incident regarding one of the Sydney Seaplanes owned DHC-2 Beaver.

Sydney Seaplanes also has previously indicated plans to grow the fleet with more Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft.[13]

The fleet of DHC-2 Beavers operated Sydney Seaplanes at Rose Bay terminal
The fleet of DHC-2 Beavers operated Sydney Seaplanes at Rose Bay terminal


Sydney Seaplanes currently operate to a number of destinations on a semi regular basis, they also offer charter services. All flights are from the Rose Bay Water Airport in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.


Main article: 2017 Sydney Seaplanes DHC-2 crash

A major incident occurred on 31 December 2017, involving VH-NOO. The aircraft crashed into Jerusalem Bay off the Hawkesbury River after deviating from its usual flight path for unknown reasons. All six people on board were killed in the crash (five passengers including an 11yr old girl and one crew, the pilot). The pilot was returning from Cottage Point Inn to the hub of Rose Bay.


  1. ^ Karen, Sasha (13 November 2016). "Sydney Seaplanes CEO: 'The sky's the limit for my business'". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Sydney Seaplane Terminal Re-Opens in Rose Bay". Broadsheet. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b Chandler, Jasmin (2 June 2017). "Preview the New Sydney Seaplanes Terminal and Empire Lounge". Crossley Architects. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Empire Lounge, Sydney Seaplanes Terminal". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Historic day for Sydney aviation as Jerry Schwartz partners with Sydney Aviation Holdings to add to the city's glorious seaplane heritage" (PDF). Schwartz Family Holdings. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  6. ^ "UK businessman, his family and pilot die in Sydney seaplane crash". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  7. ^ "How celebs see the northern beaches". Daily Telegraph. 17 November 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Six people killed in Sydney seaplane crash". South China Morning Post. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  9. ^ Clarke, Jenna (31 May 2017). "Pippa Middleton and James Matthews spotted honeymooning in Sydney". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Pippa Middleton and James Matthews Begin the Third Leg of Their Glam Honeymoon". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  11. ^ "RegoSearch | Aircraft Registration Search". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  12. ^ "16Right - Australian Aircraft Register Search". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  13. ^ "How Sydney Seaplanes chief Aaron Shaw created an $8 million scenic flights company that's "made for Instagram"". SmartCompany. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2019.