Category Archives: Skywest Airlines (Australia)

Skywest Airlines of Australia becomes Virgin Australia Regional Airlines

Skywest Airlines (Australia) (Perth) today (May 7) became Virgin Australia Regional Airlines.

The company issued this statement:

Virgin Australia today (May 7) unveiled its new regional airline operation with Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti in Perth.

Following the acquisition of Skywest Airlines last month, today marked the launch of the newly branded airline. The first two aircraft to be rebranded as ‘Virgin Australia’ were officially unveiled (Fokker 100 VH-FSQ and Fokker 50 VH-FNA), representing the airline’s commitment to continued investment and new growth opportunities for regional and charter travel in Australia.

The entity known as Virgin Australia Regional Airlines will be based in Perth, Western Australia and the operation will now have 32 aircraft operating over 800 services per week to 41 different destinations.

Skywest (Australia) logo (large)(HR)

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines 5:2013 Route Map

The old Skywest Airlines route map (above).

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti described it as a momentous day for the airline, tourism and the travel industry.

“This country has one of the most geographically dispersed populations in the world and reliable, affordable air services are vital to the growth of regional Australia.

“In 2010, we articulated a strategy to become the airline of choice for all travellers in Australia. Since then, we have changed the competitive landscape in many ways and today marks our next major leap forward.

“By integrating Skywest Airlines into the Virgin Australia Group, we unlock new opportunities to grow our services to regional Australia and significantly increase our charter presence in the high growth fly-in-fly-out markets.

“Western Australia is one of the fastest growing aviation markets and a very important part of our strategy. We have made significant investment over the past two years with the introduction of our internationally configured Airbus A330 aircraft on services between the East and West Coast, increased frequencies to the resource-rich Pilbara region and established a large crew base in Perth.

“By building a Perth-based operation and workforce, we will continue to invest in local resources, expertise and infrastructure”, Mr Borghetti said.

Sir Richard Branson said: “It is fantastic what John and the team have done over the last couple of years, completely repositioning the airline with the introduction of the Virgin Australia brand and its brilliant product and service. Now I am thrilled to see him focusing on other market segments including regional and charter services where I know they will deliver.

“This is the start of the next ground-breaking chapter for the Virgin Australia Group and an exciting time for the airline”, Sir Richard said.

Copyright Photo: Micheil Keegan. All other images and photos from Skywest. The Skywest Airlines brand is now being retired. All of the aircraft are gradually being repainted into the Virgin Australia brand.

Skywest Airlines FAs (Skywest)(LR)

The faces of Skywest Airlines.

Video: Skywest Airlines of Australia fades into the sunset:

Skywest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

New combined Virgin Australia domestic route map:

Virgin Australia logo

Virgin Australia Domestic 5:2013 Route Map

The High Court in Singapore approves the Virgin Australia acquisition of Skywest Airlines

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) has received the approval of the High Court in Singapore to acquire Skywest Airlines (Perth). Previously the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board cleared the merger and Virgin Australia on March 13 received approval from Skywest Airlines Ltd shareholders of the proposed acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Skywest, pursuant to a scheme of arrangement under the laws of Singapore. The acquisition process is now complete.

Copyright Photo: Peter Gates. Skywest Airlines already operates a fleet of ATR 72-500s on regional routes for Virgin Australia. ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) VH-FVI (msn 955) is pictured on the ramp at Brisbane.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia-Skywest: AG Slide Show

Skywest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Skywest (Australia) logo

Skywest Airlines operates an extensive route network under its own brand in Western Australia.

Skywest (Australia) 3:2013 Route Map


Virgin Australia wins clearance to acquire Skywest Airlines

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) has received government clearance to continue its stock acquisition of regional carrier Skywest Airlines (Perth).

The airline issued the following statement:

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited welcomed the ACCC’s clearance of the proposed acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital in Skywest Airlines Ltd (Perth) pursuant to a scheme of arrangement which is subject to the laws of Singapore.

Under the agreement, Skywest would become part of the Virgin Australia brand but would continue to operate under its current Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) with its own management team, based in Western Australia. This would enable Virgin Australia to fast-track its growth in regional Australia and develop a more integrated network, service and frequent flyer program for the benefit of its customers.

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti said: “The ACCC’s clearance represents an important step for Virgin Australia in completing the proposed acquisition of Skywest.

“This acquisition will enable us to accelerate our expansion in the high growth fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) and regional markets, increasing competition in these important segments and bringing new benefits to customers.

“It will also be very positive for business and tourism, particularly in Western Australia and regional Australia, as we will invest to support the growth of Skywest”, Mr Borghetti said.

The proposed transaction still remains subject to certain conditions and regulatory approvals, including Foreign Investment Review Board approval, Skywest shareholder approval and the approval of the Singapore High Court.

Top Copyright Photo: Peter Gates. Skywest Airlines currently operates 10 ATR 72-212As (ATR 72-500s) on feeder routes for Virgin Australia Airlines in their colors. VH-FVH (msn 954) prepares for the next flight at Brisbane.

Skywest Airlines (Australia): AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia Airlines-Skywest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Skywest (Australia) logo

Skywest’s routes in western Australia:

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Micheil Keegan. The in-house livery of Skywest Airlines and the Airbus A320 is now likely to be retired. Airbus A320-231 VH-FNP (msn 429) arrives back at the Perth, Western Australia base painted in the 2003 livery.

Virgin Australia makes three bold moves

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (Virgin Australia Airlines) (Brisbane) is making three bold moves. The company issued the following statement:

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited today announced three transactions designed to accelerate the growth of the business, diversify its earnings and increase competition in Australia.

The transactions include:

  • making a placement of shares to Singapore Airlines (Singapore), which will see Singapore Airlines owning a 10% interest in Virgin Australia Holdings;
  • entering a Share Purchase Agreement to acquire 60% of the existing shares in Tiger Airways Australia (Melbourne) from Tiger Airways; and
  • entering an in-principle agreement with Skywest Airlines (Perth) to acquire 100% of its business.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said: “The transactions announced today are in line with Virgin Australia’s strategy to become the airline of choice in all markets, in order to diversify our earnings and drive growth opportunities for the business.

“The acquisition of Tiger Australia and Skywest provides Virgin Australia with a strong presence in the budget, Fly-in Fly-Out (FIFO) and regional markets, enabling us to fast-track our expansion in these areas and become a stronger competitor”, Mr Borghetti said.

“These transactions will bring important benefits to Australia, driving growth in jobs, tourism and competition”, Mr Borghetti said.

If approved, following the completion of the transactions, the Virgin Australia Group will expand to 139 aircraft and over 9,000 employees .

Virgin Australia will keep the market updated regarding progress on these transactions.

Meanwhile partner Singapore Airlines (Singapore) has ordered 20 Airbus A350-900s and five A380s and will assign its 20 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners to subsidiary Scoot (Singapore).

Top Copyright Photo: Lloyd Fox. If approved, Skywest Airlines (Perth) will become a 100% subsidiary of Virgin Australia. The regional carrier is already operating ATR 72-500s for Virgin Australia in their livery. The Skywest brand used for other Western Australia routes is now likely to disappear.

Virgin Australia: 

Skywest Airlines: 

Tiger Airways (Australia): 

Bottom Copyright Photo: Micheil Keegan. Since Singapore Airlines and its Tiger Airways (Australia) subsidiary are now partners with Virgin Australia, it is unclear if Tiger Airways (Australia), a competitor of Virgin Australia, will continue to use the the Tiger Airways brand in Australia or operate now under the Virgin Australia name. Airbus A320-232 VH-VNO (msn 4053) climbs away from Sydney.

Virgin Australia acquires a share in Skywest Airlines

Virgin Australia Airlines (Virgin Australia Holdings-VAH) (Brisbane) has announced that it has made an investment in Skywest Airlines Ltd. (Perth). The airline made the investment “in order to capitalize on opportunities in regional Australia by supporting further growth of VAH and Skywest’s regional partnership.
Should this investment and associated rights be converted to equity VAH will own approximately 10% of Skywest on a fully diluted basis.”

Virgin Australia has grown its regional operations significantly since launching its regional network with Skywest in October 2011, with the commencement of new services to Emerald, Gladstone and Port Macquarie.

The fleet of four new ATR 72 aircraft being operated by Skywest in Virgin Australia’s colors will increase to 12 by the end of the 2013 financial year.

The investment will be made by way of an A$8 million convertible facility with Skywest. The facility is convertible by VAH into ordinary shares in Skywest at a conversion price of A$0.45 per Skywest share with a maturity date of April 15, 2015 and a coupon rate of 7.5% per annum.

In addition, Skywest has agreed to grant VAH a first tranche of 4 million warrants at a grant price of A$0.05 per warrant with a conversion price of A$0.45 per warrant along with rights to participate in future share issues during the term of the facility to avoid dilution. Subject to Skywest shareholder approval and there being no objection under Australia’s foreign investment policy Skywest intends to grant an additional tranche of 2.41 million warrants to VAH on the same terms. The warrants have a maturity date of April 15, 2015. If the facility and all warrants are converted by VAH, then VAH would hold an equity stake of approximately 10% in Skywest on a fully diluted basis.

Top and Bottom Copyright Photos: Peter Gates.

Virgin Australia Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Australia and Skywest Airlines win tentative approval for their alliance, Virgin Australia retires its last ERJ 170

Virgin Australia Airlines (formerly Virgin Blue Airlines) (Brisbane) and Skywest Airlines (Perth) have been granted tentative approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for a proposed corporate alliance between the two carriers according to this article by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Additionally Virgin Australia has announced additional flights as part of an accelerated capacity growth plan for major corporate, resources sector and leisure routes. The airline will be introducing the following:

  • From February 13, 2012, extra services between Brisbane-Melbourne, Sydney-Melbourne and Adelaide-Melbourne – and also between Brisbane-Cairns and Brisbane-Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine).
  • From February 19, 2012, an additional return service will also be introduced between Brisbane and Gladstone on Sundays in response to demand.
  • From February 20, 2012, extra services will also be added between Brisbane and Rockhampton.
  • Adelaide-Melbourne: An additional return flight Mondays through Fridays; taking the total number of flights offered between the two cities up to 10 per day or 130 per week.
    Brisbane-Melbourne: An extra return flight seven days a week; taking the total number of flights offered on the route up to 13 daily or 174 per week.
    Melbourne-Sydney: An extra return flight seven days a week; taking the total number of flights offered between the two cities up to 31 daily or 392 per week.
  • Brisbane-Gladstone: One extra return flight on Sundays (using the ATR); taking the total number of flights offered by the airline on the route to 34 per week.
    Brisbane-Rockhampton: An extra return flight, Monday to Friday; taking the total number of Virgin Australia flights between Brisbane-Rockhampton up to 78 per week.
    Brisbane-Cairns: An extra return flight will be added every day except Saturdays; taking the total number of Virgin Australia flights between Brisbane and Cairns each week to 80.
    Brisbane and Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine): An additional return service, Monday to Friday, will be introduced; taking the total number of flights offered by the airline on the route to 24 per week.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

In other news, Virgin Australia has retired its last Embraer ERJ 170.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group. Still painted in Virgin Blue’s brand, Embraer ERJ 170-100LR VH-ZHF (msn 17000255) passed through Honolulu on January 25 on its trek across the wide Pacific Ocean headed eastbound. None of the ERJ 170s were repainted in the new Virgin Australia identity.

Skywest Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Australia Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Virgin Blue Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Skywest Airlines Route Map (click to enlarge):

Click on the map to enlarge.

Skywest Airlines starts flying for Virgin Australia Airlines

Skywest Airlines (Perth) yesterday (October 17) began operating for Virgin Australia Airlines (Bribane) with the new ATR 72-500s dressed in Virgin Australia’s brand. The first flight, flight DJ 1711, departed Brisbane to Gladstone followed by Brisbane to Port Macquarie. ATR 72 services between Canberra and Sydney start on October 19, 2011, bringing the total number of flights between the two cities to 60 each week.

Copyright Photo: Peter Gates. Please click on the photo for the full details.

Skywest Airlines to operate 18 ATR 72-500s for Virgin Australia

Skywest Airlines (Perth) is getting ready to take delivery of its first ATR 72-500. Skywest has a total of 18 ATR 72-212As (ATR 72-500s) turboprops on order. The ATRs will be painted in the Virgin Australia livery and will be operated for Virgin Australia under a wet lease agreement on its regional routes. Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) is expanding its regional network in Australia.

Virgin Australia Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Gimbellet. The pictured ATR 72-212A with the test registration of F-WWEH (msn 955) at Toulouse on July 11, 2011 is the second ATR 72 for Skywest.

Skywest Airlines to operate turboprops under the Virgin Blue brand

Skywest Airlines (Perth) will operate up to 18 turboprops for Virgin Blue Airlines (Brisbane), allowing Virgin Blue to move into regional Australia.

Virgin Blue is phasing out its Embraer ERJ 170s.

Copyright Photo: Nik French. Please click on the photo for additional details.

The first Airbus A320 is readied for Skywest Airlines (Australia)

Skywest Airlines (Australia) (Perth) will soon take delivery of its first Airbus A320.

Copyright Photo: Nik French. Ex-Thomas Cook A320-231 G-BYTH (msn 429) was rolled out of the paint shop at Manchester this morning (March 22).